IWM Duxford is looking ahead to two new openings this winter with a celebration of the Second World War’s most hard-working fighter aircraft, the Hurricane, opening to visitors in December and the Conservation in Action hangar will welcome the public back through its doors after eight months of closure. Meet members of IWM’s Conservation Team as they set to work on new restoration projects and get up close to seven airworthy Hurricanes brought together under one roof for the first time.
After the success of last year’s Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon, this December will see the Hawker Hurricane take centre stage with the opening of Hurricane: Unsung Hero in the Conservation Hall in AirSpace on 27 December 2022. With only fourteen airworthy Hurricanes remaining in the world, this spotlight exhibition will offer a unique opportunity to see seven of these brought together under one roof to explore the rich history of fighter command’s finest enemy destroyer. Often overlooked in favour of the Spitfire, the Hurricane accounted for sixty percent of air victories in the Battle of Britain. Highlights of this new spotlight exhibition include a Hurricane MK1 veteran from the summer of 1940, the world’s only two-seater Hurricane and a Sea Hurricane Mk1b which was received by No 880 Squadron, the first Fleet Air Arm Squadron to be equipped with Hurricanes.
Rebecca Harding, Head of Technological Objects at IWM Duxford, said “With its impressive service history and distinctive appearance, the Hawker Hurricane is a true legend of aviation which revolutionised aerial combat during the Second World War. This winter, IWM Duxford will shine the spotlight on its historical significance and design and give visitors the unique chance to see seven airworthy variations up close to better understand why this famous fighter deserves such a prominent place in history.”
Hurricane: Unsung Hero will be open to general admission visitors to IWM Duxford from 27 December 2022 – 19 February 2023 with associated events and activities taking place throughout.
Following an extensive refurbishment, the doors to IWM Duxford’s Conservation in Action hangar will reopen from Thursday 17 November, enabling visitors to see the museum’s dedicated team of conservation staff and volunteers work to safeguard the history of our large objects for future generations to enjoy. Work will be taking place on a number of objects which have never been seen before, including a Second World War Crusader II Cruiser Tank, the only one to be displayed in Europe, and a Staghound Armoured Vehicle believed to have served with the Free Belgian forces in Normandy in 1944. Other restoration projects include an Avro Shackleton, a British post-war maritime patrol aircraft used extensively during the Cold War, a German Second World War jet powered Heinkel He 162 A-1, the only known complete surviving A-1 variant of this type, and a Jagdpanther self-propelled anti-tank gun, one of only seven surviving in the world and the only one in the UK to have seen operational service during the war. In addition to these large objects, there will also be an engine display with photos and archival film footage about some of the engines featured. Visitors can see live conservation works taking place from 10am-3pm every Monday to Friday.
Accompanying events and activities
Hurricane: Unsung Hero Tour
On selected dates in January and February, join one of IWM’s expert guides for a 60-minute talk exploring the history of the Hurricane and the unique stories behind each of the aircraft in this spotlight exhibition. There is even the opportunity to go behind the ropes for a closer glimpse of these iconic aircraft.
Hurricane: Unsung Hero Tour| Selected dates in January and February | £15
Hurricane: Unsung Hero in Airfix
Join members of the Airfix team as they explain the research, design and production processes that go into making their iconic model aircraft. They’ll demonstrate how to take accurate measurements of full-size aircraft using 3D scanners, how they use cutting-edge technology to design their kits and how they design their famous box artwork.
Hurricanes: Unsung hero in Airfix | 15 January | £30
Duxford In A Different Light: Hurricane Unsung Hero
Head to AirSpace after-hours where the aircraft will be lit up in a variety of ways, including with the use of coloured and white lighting, to create magical photography moments. This event is intended for experienced photographers, and we suggest bringing a camera and tripod.
Duxford In A Different Light: Hurricane Unsung Hero | 4 February | £50
IWM In Conversation: The Hurricane Conference
Join us for a series of fascinating lectures about the history and heritage of the Hurricane. Hear from a current Hurricane pilot and engineer about the intricacies of flying and maintaining the aircraft, discover more about what made the Hurricane such a powerful enemy destroyer during the Second World War from an IWM Curator and hear from Jim Nicolson whose uncle flew Hurricanes and was the only Fighter Command pilot in the whole of the Second World War to be awarded the Victoria Cross.
IWM In Conversation: The Hurricane Conference | 18 February | £40