The Merlin Centre

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On the 8th May 2003, the new Merlin Centre was officially opened. This web area is intended to provide a record of that day with pictures, some text, a look around the new centre, listen to the speeches and of course - a wander in the hangar.

In 2002, Lincolnshire County Council authorised an expansion of the facilities at the Visitor Centre, and allocated £25,000 from Capital Funding for the project to go ahead. Work began on this project in March 2003. 

This expansion is seen as an important element if we are to ensure that the sacrifice of those who gave their lives during World War II is never forgotten. Our vision for the future is based on a very poignant commonwealth war graves commission commemoration stone, which says:

“When you go home

tell of us, and say

 for your tomorrow

 we gave our today”

Currently there is a year on year increase in users of our service.  For example, in FY 2000/01 the Centre had 26,210 users, which increased the following year to 27,387.  There is strong evidence therefore that the visitor Centre is able to attract more visitors/users provided that additional facilities were made available.

The Education & Activity Centre (to be renamed The Merlin Centre) will be utilised in a number of ways, including:


It will be used as a space for Temporary Exhibitions – The exhibition “Turning a blind eye…” will officially open on the same day as the Education Centre.  The Holocaust Centre has designed this exhibition. Other exhibitions will be aimed at different genders and different age groups.


This exhibition will also be used for a schools workshop currently being developed with the assistance of the Principal Keeper Social Inclusion, on the subject of ‘propaganda’.

As a learning centre – BBMF Visitor Centre is currently in consultation with local schools to provide a programme of educational workshops aimed at the National Curriculum.  In particular, the centre is involved in the Museum & Galleries Education Programme (MGEP) funded project, ConnectEd. Claire Jacques, Principal Keeper Social Inclusion has secured £8,000 funding for educational projects within Lincolnshire.  As part of this project, BBMF is developing an outreach loans box that will help schools debate the moralities of war.


As an activity centre – in particular, the Visitor Centre staff are developing school holiday activity programmes, similar to those held at other heritage sites, whereby local children can attend for a small fee.


The centre will also be used for lectures. Abi Ainley, Keeper VisCom at the Centre is developing a one-day special event that will hopefully take place in the autumn. The aim of this event is to invite three ‘celebrity’ speakers, to provide lectures during the day. It is hoped that the local community may also be able to hire the centre for local meetings.


As can be seen, this new building offers the Visitor Centre the opportunity to be able to expand its current ‘user’ audience, to include schools, local communities, different genders and age groups.

             Ron Frayne - Principal Keeper

BBMF Visitor Centre

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