Berkshire Museum of Aviation, 7th September 2019

There’s been a bit of a spate of visits to transport museums over the last twelve months – some declared others not – and I think I am beginning to get a bit of a reputation as a transport nerd. This latest post won’t do anything to dispel that myth.

There is a local museum tucked away just 10 minutes drive from our house called the Berkshire Museum of Aviation which I knew about but had never actually been to. My Dad was over for the weekend and so it seemed like an ideal time to go and visit as as he enjoys anything with an engine.

The museum is housed inside an old hanger and once inside you can see that it is rammed full of exhibits. These range from full sized planes and helicopters down to the small objects such as stamps and other aviation related odds and sods. It was quite impressive just how much stuff they have been able to cram into such a confined space.

As I wandered round I was interested in many of the exhibits but did question whether it was absolutely necessary to include everything that they had. Take, for example, the bottle shown below. It was labelled “Bottle from site of spitfire hanger, Upper Culham”. Nothing else, just that. It could have been a bottle drunk out of by one of the brave spitfire pilots or it could have been dumped on the site long after they had left. Who knew? Not me and clearly not the person labeling the exhibit.

“Bottle from site of spitfire hanger” in other words “it’s any old bottle”

It was this sort of thing that meant that the place didn’t really do it for me. It was supposed to be a museum of aviation in Berkshire but I found the story around that was difficult to follow and understand. There was no thread that led your around the place putting things in context. It was more a collection of objects (some impressive) that had a link (in some cases tenuous) to Berkshire.

Some will say that I am being unfair because the place is run by volunteers and I shouldn’t set my expectations against other no doubt better funded places visited recently. That’s probably right but it still felt like a missed opportunity.

Dad, feel free to add you review in the comments below!