Bournemouth Aviation Museum is a self-funding Charitable Trust based near Bournemouth Airport. As a charity we do not receive any state funding but rely solely on the income we receive from visitor’s entrance fees, purchases from our Museum shop and the occasional generous donations from well-wishers. The staff are all volunteers who give their time freely to help run the Museum and to assist the visitors.
The Museum is for all age groups right from the very youngest children through to the men and women who may have flown or worked on some of these aircraft during their careers. We truly hope that you will enjoy your time at our Museum as well as inspiring young boys and girls to become the pilots, air traffic controllers, or engineers of the future.
The Museum opened in May 1998 as the Jet Heritage Museum based in the Heritage Hangar at Bournemouth Airport. Visitors could enjoy watching work taking place on Jet Heritage’s excellent fighter collection which had been built up since 1980, as well as having access to an outside viewing area with a view across the airfield.
In August 1999 it was renamed the Bournemouth Aviation Museum, but alas the company went into liquidation a few months later. Fortunately, the charitable trust element remained in business and became the volunteer-run Bournemouth Aviation Museum that you see today which then continued in business until 2007.
In December 2007 the Museum was given some shocking news by the (then) airport owners MAG. They decided that due to a planned airport expansion they were unable to continue with the lease of the hangar or offer us an alternative site on the airport and the Museum would have to leave. This was a massive blow for all those working at the Museum which had rapidly become a popular visitor site.
The future looked bleak for a while, but salvation came in autumn 2008 when the Museum managed to relocate to its current site near to Adventure Wonderland adjacent to the airport. Unfortunately, as the new site was much smaller, some of the exhibits such as the BAC One-Eleven and Herald did not make the move.
The Museum now has the advantage of being on the same site as Adventure Wonderland which is rated as Dorset’s No 1 tourist attraction. It is also just across the main road from the airport’s main taxiway which provides a fantastic view from our viewing platforms of the aircraft taxiing to/from the main terminal building.
We have worked hard since 2008 to build up the Museum into what you see to-day. We continue to develop it still further with new exhibits being added all the time such as the Jet Provost T5 and the Cri-Cri small aircraft. This highlights the varied mix of exhibits we have with both civil and military aircraft and other interesting exhibits such as the Control Tower, Airport Fire Engine and Double-Decker bus. The Museum encourages visitors to sit in the cockpits of most of the exhibits for a truly hands-on experience and thus provides a memorable and inspiring visit for all those interested in aviation.