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Free Entry At The Air Force Museum Of New Zealand

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Free Entry At The Air Force Museum Of New Zealand

18 FEBRUARY 2009 - The Air Force Museum of New Zealand, located at Wigram in Christchurch, will create its own history on Saturday 21st February with the introduction of free entry for general visitors. Since it opened to the public in 1987, and in line with many museums the Air Force Museum has charged visitors an admission fee to help cover its operating costs. However, as from Saturday that all changes.

Thrse Angelo, the Museum Director, stated that "particularly in these tight financial times the Museum Trust Board is dedicated to ensuring the Museum is available to as many people as possible". Removing the admission fee allows even more local and international visitors to find out about the Royal New Zealand Air Force and its impact on New Zealand society. She says "the Air Force Museum is a museum of national significance and we are committed to making its valuable collections and amazing stories more accessible". At the same time as free admission is introduced, a subtle variation of the name from the current 'Air Force Museum' to 'Air Force Museum of New Zealand' will help better reflect the institution's national status and the role it plays in preserving our social history.

Since its inception the Museum has received critical acclaim for its presentation style and standards which exceed the expectations of visitors irrespective of their age or gender. The Museum has exhibitions to capture any imagination, 28 amazing aircraft and fun, hands-on displays for the young and younger at heart. .

In September 2008 a new $600,000 history gallery, 'Horizon to Horizon: the Flight Path of our Air Force' was officially opened. The main feature of the gallery is a central timeline which gives a chronology of the Air Force. New displays feature the heroic, poignant and fascinating personal stories of New Zealand's airmen and airwomen, as well as showing off some of the Museum's many wonderful artifacts and memorabilia. There are four audiovisual presentations within the gallery, one of which is mounted in a specially constructed three quarter scale replica C-130 Hercules aircraft, built on-site by Museum staff and volunteers.

The main Aircraft Hall contains fully restored aircraft such as the Spitfire, Iroquois, Harvard and Mustang, enhanced by imaginative lighting. Elsewhere in the Museum you can indulge in a little nostalgia in reconstruction of a wartime family home or try a hands-on flying experience in a Mosquito flight simulator.

With admission fees one of the main revenue streams for the Museum, several new pay-to-view behind the scenes fully guided tours have been developed to help fund operating costs. These will allow visitors to view restoration projects along with aircraft and large objects in the open storage hangar; or take the opportunity to walk around the historic Wigram Air Force Base. Children have not been forgotten with the development of a fun and hands on Air Force Experience tour culminating in them earning their 'wings'. The modest charges for school groups and other special tours will still apply.

The Communications Manager at the Museum, Mr Dave Clearwater said "far from being just a museum for aviation enthusiasts, there is something to interest everyone and there is now one less reason for not visiting".

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