Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Imperial War Museum @ Duxford

This, my friends, is an actual Spitfire in repair (for the lowdown of why I would actually care, read this blog post) in one of the hangars at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

I know I'm a bit late in posting this, but for Valentine's Day, I couldn't think of anything more romantic than for John to take me to the Imperial War Museum.  Yes, you read that right - instead of roses and breakfast in bed (though I did receive the latter), I specifically asked my boyfriend of six years to take me to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford on February 14th.  "Are you sure?" he asked, a little concerned and no doubt worried about the possible repercussions his actions might have if I wasn't 100% serious.  "Yes!" I glared at him.  "Why, don't you want to go?  It isn't a phase, you know, I do have a genuine interest in the Battle of Britain and I want to see a Spitfire for reals.  Anyways," I paused here as I excitedly clicked through the IWM website.  "The Concorde is open for viewing today!"  

So we made the drive to Duxford (I say we, but as usual, John drove while I played DJ and traffic monitor with the iPhone) and entered the museum on a very cold and windy day.  Prior to my visit, I had no idea that the museum was organized into different "hangars" with themes e.g. Battle of Britain, AirSpace and even an American Air Museum.  Perhaps what amazed me the most was how accessible it was to families and children - there are all sorts of fun activities and games to enable children to learn about everything from how planes work to how planes were used in war.  I thought back to all the times my dad took me and my brother to the Museum of Flight in Seattle when we were little and boring I thought it was.  I just think it's nice now that I can finally appreciate a museum like the IWM, Duxford and more importantly, that a place like it exists.    John and I took advantage of the flight simulator located between a couple of hangars that supposedly gave you the experience of flying a Spitfire that shot down an enemy plane with real footage from the Battle of Britain - absolutely incredible (though I did feel a bit pukey afterward as we had just eaten a roast lunch and dessert at the cafe).  However, my favorite part was probably the audio accounts from RAF veterans describing their experiences fighting in the air: truly amazing and inspiring stories.  What can I say?  First Light had a huge impact on me (and I was very happy to see copies of it in the gift shop).

I highly recommend a visit - maybe for that first date?

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