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IWM Duxford unveils £400,000 'Historic Duxford' exhibition with MET Studio

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By Gillian West, Social media manager

July 2, 2013 | 3 min read

IWM Duxford, part of Imperial War Museums, has turned to MET Studio to complete a new permanent £400,000 exhibition entitled Historic Duxford.

Bringing to life IWM Duxford's history as a fully-operational airfield from 1918 to 1961, the exhibition is the result of a collaboration between MET Studio and the Interpretation and Collections Team at IWM Duxford and is located within the former Watch Office at the heart of the museum.

The exhibition aims to provide visitors with a textured and broad account of life at RAF Duxford featuring the lives and experiences of pilots, commanding officers, ground crew, domestic staff and cleaners.

"The exhibition combines sound, film, interactive models and original objects to paint a vivid picture of daily life at RAF Duxford. Visitors can find out what it was like to serve in the Royal Air Force and how several generations of men and women were shaped by their experiences here," commented Alicia Gurney, exhibitions manager for IWM Duxford.

To engage visitors MET Studio has created an experience based on people's memories rather than being object or artefact-based. Items are used to illustrate specific stories, with some original items on display alongside replicas that younger visitors are encouraged to touch and engage with. Inside the Watch Office the exhibition begins with 'First Impressions', an introductory film featuring the memories of the 1500 plus people who lived at worked at RAF Duxford during WWII.

The introductory film area is surrounded by period suitcases with the walls and ceiling covered in facsimiles of identity paperwork. The second area concentrates on the 'Duxford Story', educating visitors about the site's chronology in war and peace-time. 'Duxford People' follows on showcasing six of seven famous faces from the airfields history.

An external element 'The Heritage Trail' has also been built as part of the 'Historic Duxford' project and features a series of eight totems, each focussing on a significant building or spot on the site and its uses during the Second World War.

Lloyd Hicks, MET Studio MD, explained: "Accessibility and inclusivity were absolutely key to the design of this exhibition and not only with reference to the breadth of subject matter. We worked very closely with IWM Duxford and an access panel, formed specifically for this project, in order to design for visitors with vision and hearing impairment, as well as for visitors with physical disabilities."

Hicks added that "a crazy amount of design for such a small space" went into creating the overall look and feel of the exhibition.

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