Volunteers to go behind the scenes at Stow Maries

An award-winning museum in Essex is giving potential volunteers a chance to enjoy a ‘behind the scenes’ experience

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome is the only surviving Great War aerodrome that was not redeveloped for other use in Europe. Situated between Chelmsford and Maldon it features the largest collection of Royal Flying Corps (RFC) buildings in the world and from 1917 until 1919 was a key part of the defences of London and the East of England from the airship and bomber attacks of Imperial Germany.

Its collections include accurate flying reproductions of Great War aircraft as well as thousands of rare and precious objects from RFC/early RAF history.

On Saturday, April 6, at 10.30am, the museum will invite volunteer candidates to explore areas usually off-limits, as well meeting some of the team responsible for the growing collection. Normal fees are being waived for the first 25 people who register online for tickets.

Visitors Mathew and Rebecca Bradley with Welcome Team Volunteer Pauline Fountain
Visitors Mathew and Rebecca Bradley with Welcome Team Volunteer Pauline Fountain Stow Maries

The chance to see rare objects – some under conservation – is not one that is available to all visitors. Some items are in the process of being restored and awaiting placement in exhibitions. They include a variety of documents, photographs and other objects which tell the story of Stow Maries and the people who served at the aerodrome during a dark period in our country’s history.

“Our aerodrome has so much to offer and by opening up these rarely-seen areas, we hope to encourage everyone that visits us on April 6 to join our band of volunteers. They all do such a vital and wonderful job of preserving this site and I’m sure they would welcome more colleagues,” said Ian Flint, CEO of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome.

“Our Queens Award-winning volunteer scheme offers many diverse and fascinating opportunities, from joining our researchers who continually add to our stories to cataloguing and caring for our precious objects. Keeping our historic buildings and grounds in tip-top shape keeps our maintenance volunteers busy, too, as you can imagine.

C-Flight volunteers Mick and Andrew getting hands-on with musuem objects
C-Flight volunteers Mick and Andrew getting hands-on with musuem objects Stow Maries

“You might be the first to meet our visitors at our entrance, guide them around the exhibition or serve them in our Airmen’s Mess Café. We can offer you the chance to develop your love of history by learning all about Stow Maries and passing on your enthusiasm to our visitors,” he added.

Anyone looking to join us for this very special visit www.stowmaries.org.uk and claim their free ticket as soon as possible.

The 90-minute tour will start at 10.30am from outside the Welcome Shop. The session will finish with a cup of tea or coffee at the Airmen’s Mess café and the chance to discuss your volunteering opportunities.

Research Team Volunteers
Research Team Volunteers Stow Maries