Our experiences and model displays at the Brooklands Museum in Weybridge ...
2013 - 28th September
Today we exhibited at the Brooklands Aviation Day. Thanks again to the museum for re-inviting us after our display last year. There were 1,493 recorded visitors to the museum on the day. I don't think we saw all of them in front us at the table, but it was certainly more than we get at most model shows. Hopefully we encouraged a few people to take up or extend their participation in our hobby.
Tony, Keith, John, Martin and myself (Graham) set up the display in the position we occupied last year. Having got all set and ready to go, including the provision of a Heath Robinson style security cordon of rope, traffic cones and stands to keep wandering hands, arms and bags away from the models, we were told we were in the wrong position and someone else was due to erect a display in the same spot. This was news to us obviously, but no use arguing, we agreed to move. Trouble was, the public were now on site and coming into the Wellington Hangar, so we had to transfer the table, the 40+ models and the security measures across the hangar without bumping into anyone. Sadly Tabitha from "Bewitched" was not able to wrinkle her nose and instantly transport the display, so it was all hands to the pumps. Fifteen minutes later, we were all up and running again and talking to our first visitors of the day. Interestingly the other display never appeared, so the move was a waste of time. Ho hum.
Aircraft were the main theme of the display, with Martin's dioramas adding some variety. A few of us played safe and brought along some older models. There were a few close calls as some children reached out to touch the models - a few shouts prevented any carnage - and damage to the models! A few adults also insisted on leaning over and pointing. Clearly the "Please Do Not Touch" signs have to follow the format of the English village welcome signs ... " please do not do this ... and this ... and this ...etc." as the one command is not sufficiently passing on the message to leave the models alone! The rope barrier worked well, though the use of the hangman's noose at one end of the rope was perhaps a little excessive. Popular model talking points were Tony's Hunter. Martin's engine and Graham's Hunter under Tower Bridge alongside the usual nostalgia for the days of childhood model making. Nostalgia was further enhanced when the engines of the White Monoplane, the Camel and the Le Rhone exhibit were started up and the waft of castor oil drifted into the hangar. Fortunately the doors were shut, else we may have had some inadvertently flying models. There was no "make and take" organised this year, so we had a fairly easy time of it and could focus on our own display and take time to look at the other activities.
Thanks to those of you who stopped by and chatted and we look forward to seeing those who expressed an interest in coming down to the club nights to see us. Below are the photos of the display we presented.
2012 - 29th September
This was our second visit to Brooklands this year, this time in support of the Brooklands Aviation Day. Thanks to the Brooklands Museum Management, and to Virginia Smith in particular, we were able to put on an even bigger display than last time, and, being slightly further south, a warmer one once the hangar doors were open. I reckon we had 70 models on the table today, which I think is probably a record for this year, if not many a year. We had plenty of visitors stop by (sadly not all of the 1,300 visitors that came on the day) and many stayed to have a chat whilst admiring the models. We think we made a good impression and that it added something to the overall day. We were competing with an interesting and diverse range of aircraft in the hangar. Hopefully we even encouraged a few people to think about resurrecting their interest in the hobby and a few people were considering coming to the next club meeting. Please do, you'll be most welcome - Paul, I need another Harrier fan in the club!
In return for Brookland's kindness in letting us in to display our models, we agreed to man the Airfix sponsored (i.e. they provided the kits) "make and take" tent which was ably managed and run by Ella. It was time to roll up the sleeves and help children have a go at putting together a 72nd scale Hurricane, using nothing more than bare hands and a tube of polystyrene cement. Modelling at its simplest - no knives, sprue cutters, sanding sticks, liquid cement, clamps, magnifying visors, etc. At times it was organised chaos, and the grass carpet monster will certainly throw up some interesting plastic bits the next time it is mown. 30 minutes in and there was glue and paint everywhere, but in between the carnage, we managed to help get quite a few models completed. Humbrol silver seemed to a popular finish - a 10 second spray was much easier for some than using the acrylic paints. I think great fun was had by all concerned and the museum thought it was a worthwhile and successful event. Dave W was slightly disappointed to see no tank kits, but after completing his first Hurricane, we're hopeful now he will come over to the dark side and see tanks for what they are - target practice. (Just kidding Dave - about the targets, that is).
Below are the photos of the display we presented. None were taken of the children at the make and take for obvious reasons, except for the big kid Dave. For those of you following our displays, I hope we manage to introduce enough different models to keep it from appearing to be the same old thing.
2012 - 17th April
The Museum, located in Weybridge, Surrey has sometimes been described as "one of Surrey's best kept secrets". It is the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation and displays a wide-range of Brooklands-related motoring and aviation exhibits. Add in a bus museum, a collection of push-bikes and the opportunity to explore parts of the famous banked motor-racing circuit and you have no shortage of interesting things to see and do. Events are held throughout the summer at weekends, so there's always something happening.
We were given the opportunity of putting on a mini-display of our club models in the Wellington Hangar of Brooklands Museum as part of the museum's Easter Activities Weeks in April 2012. Located in front of their Harrier T.52, G-VTOL, we were able to talk to adults and children alike as they waited to get in the cockpit of the Harrier. It was great to talk to members of the general public who didn't necessarily have an interest in modelling and we hope we have persuaded a few adults and children to take-up the hobby and/or extend their modelling interests. Although some of the club members found it a bit cold (The wimps! They should try being in there in the depths of winter, now that's cold!), they all agreed it was a worthwhile day and are keen to do another (in warmer weather). We shall be exploring this with the museum over the next few weeks and look to confirm two provisional dates in June and September 2012. Our thanks go to Virginia Smith for hosting us on the day and helping us get organised, Neil Sinclair for kicking it all off and my fellow Wednesday volunteers for putting up with the disruption.