The Archive comprises books, photographs, Air Publications (APs), magazines, uniforms, correspondence, memorabilia, ephemeral objects plus a range of aviation and avionic artefacts from across the history of aviation.
In recent years the museum has endeavoured to widen access to the Archive. In part this has been achieved by identifying, cataloguing and cross-referencing all the items held in the Archive. Computerising the records and the construction of improved facilities with appropriate environmentally controlled conditions has also helped this aim.
Currently the Archive has:
• 4,500 catalogued books
• 970 catalogued APs
• A diverse collection of magazine sets
• 18,000 photographs
• The Neville Franklin Photographic Collection, which comprises 18,000 photographs and 9,000 slides
• The Peter Green Research files, which comprise 70 folders of data relating to all British aircraft and manufacturers
Within its various exhibition spaces the museum operates a policy of regularly rotating displays, which enables many objects to be viewed by the public.
How to access the Archive?
As the museum pursues additional facility development opportunities, access to the Archive will be further widened. The museum’s Curator and Archivist are both happy with specific research enquiries. Using the computerised records they can check out the full resource of the Archive relatively quickly via PC. This service is now available to museum members and researchers who are undertaking a research projects or tasks.
Does it cost anything?
Having received an enquiry the Archive records will be checked and the availability of relevant material in the Archive advised. Whilst the initial enquiry / search is essentially handled free of charge; a small online donation via the Just Giving Scheme would help to contribute towards the cost of administering enquiries.
More detailed enquiries and use of Archive material for publication will be subject to negotiated fees and terms and conditions. All fees will be used to help with maintaining and further enhancing the Archive, through initiatives such as increased digitisation, which will further widen the availability of the archived material.
The museum regularly receives offers of donations; however that lack of appropriate storage space means that not all ‘donations’ can be automatically accepted. When they are accepted, it is often on the basis that items (books, kits, collectables etc) that duplicate anything already held in the collection can be sold to raise funds, with the item that is in a better condition being the one that is retained.