Imperial War Museum Duxford - History and Facts | History Hit

Imperial War Museum Duxford

South Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom

Duxford Imperial War Museum in Cambridge explores military history on land, by air and by sea.

Lily Johnson

03 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Stuart Kelly / Alamy Stock Photo

About Imperial War Museum Duxford

Duxford Imperial War Museum in Cambridge is dedicated to exploring Britain’s military history, with a particular focus on air and maritime warfare. Fittingly located at at Duxford Airfield, one of the best preserved First World War airfields, the Duxford Imperial War Museum is one of the best places to explore the history of aviation in the country.

Imperial War Museum Duxford history

The Imperial War Museum originated in 1917 as the National War Museum committee, established by the British government to make records of the country’s war effort. It opened as a museum in 1920 as the Imperial War Museum at its headquarters in London, and following the Second World War and further conflicts was expanded to encompass these also.

In 1969, the Imperial War Museum received permission to begin storing its collection in parts of Duxford Airfield, and in 1976 the entire site was granted for use as a museum.

The airfield itself also holds an intriguing history. Originally operated by the RAF during the First World War, Duxford also played a vital role in the Battle of Britain during World War Two, before in 1968 becoming the film set of the aptly-named film Battle of Britain starring Laurence Olivier.

Imperial War Museum Duxford today

Most of the exhibits at the Duxford Imperial War Museum are contained in hangars, with each hangar exploring a different aspect of military history. For example, hangar 1 tells the story of British and Commonwealth aviation history, hangar 2 is a “flying museum” where operating aircraft are held and maintained, and hangar 3 holds a maritime collection.

There is also an American Air Museum, exhibiting various battle aircrafts from the US, while hangar 4 is dedicated to the Battle of Britain, one of the country’s most famous air battles during World War Two.

As Europe’s largest air museum, IWM Duxford is a fascinating site for those interested in aviation history and the history of the British military, and caters to a wide audience of visitors.

Getting to Imperial War Museum Duxton

Imperial War Museum Duxton is located south of Cambridge at Junction 10 of the M11, with free parking available at the site. The nearest train stations are Whittlesford Parkway, Royston, and Cambridge, while the 7A (Mon-Sat) and Myalls 132 (Sunday) bus services stop right outside.

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