Northamptonshire Heritage Awards Highly Commended - Best Special Project 'The American Hall' 2012
Northamptonshire Heritage Awards Highly Commended - Best Special Project 'The Paul Morgan Display Hall' 2011
Northamptonshire Heritage Awards Museum of the Year & Best Exhibition 'A Wartime Kitchen' 2007
Sywell Aviation Museum (SAM) is a voluntary, non-profit-making organisation which aims to preserve the history of Sywell Aerodrome and Northamptonshire's rich aviation heritage from the early days of aviation to the Second World War and beyond.
SAM began life in 1998 and the Museum building was opened in 2001 by the legendary aviator Alex Henshaw MBE who is also our honorary president. Alex flew from Sywell regularly during the Second World War, airtesting Vickers Wellingtons from the aerodrome so we were honoured that he agreed to launch our small Museum.
The Museum originally consisted of three Nissen huts, dismantled at thew now-closed RAF Bentwaters and erected on site at Sywell. The buildings themselves are artefacts having been used as bomb fuzing sheds at Bentwaters by the USAAF during WW2.
The Museum has expanded in 2010 and 2011 by the addition of two new Nissen huts, formerly POW Camp Huts from Snape Farm, Derbyshire. The first hut (opened during Easter 2011) was named The Paul Morgan Hall and houses the Museum's cockpit collection and a complete WW2 Link Trainer. The second hall (opened in Easter 2012) includes an expanded USAAF Hall and a new POW/Luftwaffe exhibition.
The Museum's first complete airframe, a Hawker Hunter, was acquired in summer 2012, and work is ongoing to restore this exciting new exhibit.
In the Museum, Sywell now has a permanent base from which to celebrate its rich heritage, an important educational resource and an added attraction within the Aerodrome's thriving boundaries.
The Museum staff are all unpaid volunteers and members of the Sywell Aviation Museum Trust. The membership is around 30 in number, both ordinary members and Trustees.
Things are still progressing; we're not a Duxford or Hendon but we are determined that all visitors should enjoy their time with us, learn about the aviation heritage which is part of our locality and above all remember those who lost their lives in the conflicts of the 20th Century.
The Museum is proud to be associated with the following organisations:
The Museum is always pleased to receive details of crash sites or accept the donation of artefacts or items on loan - please contact us if you have something of interest. We're particularly interested in expanding our aviation book archive and any spare mannequins/dummies, aviation or wartime artefacts, models etc.