Hertfordshire’s de Havilland Aircraft Museum appoints its first curator

PUBLISHED: 20:02 05 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:16 06 February 2017

The de Havilland DH98 Mosquito Prototype

The de Havilland DH98 Mosquito Prototype

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A Hertfordshire aircraft museum preserving the de Havilland name has appointed its first curator.

Alistair Hodgson, below the fuselage of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B35 bomber [Picture: de Havilland Aircraft Museum] Alistair Hodgson, below the fuselage of the de Havilland Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B35 bomber [Picture: de Havilland Aircraft Museum]

Alistair Hodgson has been appointed to the new role at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum.

The latest development was announced on Monday, January 30, and comes as the museum, a volunteer-run registered charity, is preparing the final stages of its Heritage Lottery Fund application for a £1.5million grant to build a huge new hangar.

Berkhamstead-based engineering consultant Mr Hodgson became a volunteer at the London Colney museum 10 years ago, and is currently restoring a de Havilland Sea Venom jet fighter.

The museum at Salisbury Hall has a large collection of historic de Havilland aircraft, engines, components, documents, photographs, models and artefacts.

“A curator is seen by the museum board as essential.”

Mike Nevin

Mr Hodgson said: “It is important that all these items are properly conserved for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

“The curator’s role is to see that they are suitably stored, and displayed with information that tells visitors about their history and significance.”

He will also oversee the cataloguing and documenting of the entire collection.

Explaining the decision to create the new role, museum marketing director Mike Nevin said: “The museum has changed dramatically over the last few years, and with our application for an HLF grant it is now entering a whole new phase where it must demonstrate a totally professional approach to the management of its historic collection of famous aircraft.

Museum’s mission

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum’s mission is to preserve and communicate the de Havilland heritage, to ensure that current and future generations of all ages will understand de Havilland’s contribution to innovative British aviation technology.

The museum’s volunteers are dedicated to restoring de Havilland aircraft and artefacts.

The Salisbury Hall site’s New Hangar will provide additional facilities that will enable more of the museum’s aircraft to be under cover, and ensure that the restoration process can continue in all weathers, as well as providing visitors with the opportunity to enjoy practical and informative learning opportunities.

“A curator is seen by the museum board as essential in achieving this.”

The museum has a collection of more than 20 civil and military, jet and piston engine aircraft designed and built at de Havilland’s factory in Hatfield over nearly seven decades.

Among some 20 aircraft on display are three all-wood Mosquito fighter-bombers of the Second World War – more than in any other museum in the world – and the sole surviving unmodified fuselage of the DH Comet, the world’s first passenger-carrying jet airliner.

Many thousands of visitors have been to the museum since it opened in 1959 on the site where the Mosquito prototypes were designed by the secret design office in Salisbury Hall, and built in a special hangar there.

Besides looking after the de Havilland Museum’s internal standards and procedures, Mr Hodgson will be supporting the tourist attraction’s growing programme of Outreach activities by expanding his current work of giving talks to clubs and societies about the history and work of the museum.

He will also become more involved in hosting group visits to the museum.

• More information about the museum, which is just off Junction 22 of the M25, can be found at its website www.dehavillandmuseum.co.uk

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