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University students bring fresh ideas to RAF Museum redevelopment

Student surveys his architecture display at RAF Museum

A new temporary exhibition on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands, celebrates a collaboration between the Museum and students from the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Architecture and Built Environment.

The Museum worked with the School to set design challenge modules for students studying Architecture degrees to develop designs for a new collections centre and the redevelopment of an existing hangar, to incorporate a Learning Centre and exhibition. This project has offered students the opportunity to develop their Architecture skills, with an impact on the Museum buildings being developed as part of the current Inspiring Everyone: RAF Museum Midlands Development Programme. 

The exhibition showcases the students’ designs, alongside video interviews where students speak of their experiences of creating designs for the project. As part of the display, an interactive ‘have your say’ station encourages visitors to draw their own design and share ideas for the future of the Museum.

Based on a brief from the RAF Museum, students created designs for the redevelopment of an existing hangar, known as Hangar 1, that will house a new Learning Centre and innovative exhibition that will focus on the critical role of the RAF over the past 40 years. Students were given tours of the hangar to learn about the Museum’s vision for the future and to inspect its construction and condition. This information was used to develop designs to refurbish the building and make it more environmentally sustainable, helping the Museum to become a carbon net zero organisation.

Students also worked on designs for a new Collections Hub, that will enable the Museum to care for and open up the stored collections to the public. Students visited the site where the Collections Hub will be built and developed designs incorporating a range of construction methods.

Explore the students’ designs for the new Collections Hub and Hangar 1 Learning Centre and Exhibition, on display at the Museum until the autumn. Hear from the students themselves in video interviews where they talk about the design challenges they encountered, and their thoughts on the Museums’ ambitious redevelopment plans.

Maggie Appleton, RAF Museum CEO, said: "We are delighted to be working with the fabulous students from the University of Wolverhampton to wrap their ideas into our new Collections Hub and Hangar 1 Learning Centre and Exhibition. The designs have brought fresh thinking and perspectives to our plans and colleagues at the University have been brilliant partners."

Claire Robinson, RAF Museum Exhibitions and Interpretation Manager, said: "Co-design and community engagement plays a key role in our redevelopment plans. We want visitors to have a say in the future of the RAF Museum Midlands, and we’re keen to hear which of the students’ designs they like best. The exhibition encourages visitors to share their thoughts on the designs and to let us know what activities they would like to see delivered in the new Learning Centre and exhibition."

With a shared commitment to promote learning and collaboration, the RAF Museum and University of Wolverhampton have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). By working together in a spirit of friendship, the Museum and University will collaborate and encourage cooperation in relation to learning, training, research, engagement in student interventions associated with STEM and broader subject areas. The MOU was signed at the RAF Cosford Air Show by RAF Museum CEO Maggie Appleton and Samantha Walters, Chief Compliance Officer at the University of Wolverhampton.

Dr Paul Hampton, Head of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University, said: "We were delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the RAF Museum.  We’ve worked closely with the Museum since 2015 and this formal signing is about continuing to strengthen our ties whilst at the same time highlighting our regional relationships for the benefits for our students. Work experience is crucial for students and this project has been an amazing experience for them from start to finish."

Second year Architecture student, Andrew Leader, said: "Working with the RAF Museum on a real-life project was fantastic. The project was exciting and the interaction with members of the RAF Museum for feedback was great for both project and learning development. Being able to see it on display in the Museum really made me feel proud of the work I had produced. I felt like the small design decisions I made during the process were visible as I walked around the Museum."

The Museum is looking for members to join their Access and Youth Panels to help co-create future projects. If you are interested in shaping the future of the RAF Museum Midlands, please email

Admission to the Museum and viewing the exhibition is free. Pre-book your arrival time online at

The RAF Museum’s Inspiring Everyone: RAF Museum Midlands Development Programme has been made possible thanks to a generous investment from The National Lottery Heritage Lottery Fund. The Museum is developing plans further and ground works will commence in 2025.

The new School of Architecture and Built Environment offers specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disciplinary workshops, a lecture theatre, cafe, offices, meeting rooms, and advanced VR facilities in the construction holodeck with the top floor dedicated to architectural courses.  

The Architectural Studios are equipped with high-end workstations that allow for all students to be located together allowing for peer-to-peer learning and naturally occurring vertical learning, which is important to prepare for practice. The proximity of the ADT studios is especially important as it also allows for the natural cross-over of teaching and learning between these closely aligned courses. 

Each student has a dedicated individual workspace where they can hone their critical thinking skills both as individuals and as a larger community, providing a solid foundation in the creative process. The dedicated architecture studios are supplemented by a material workshop, smart modelling and assembly workshop for physical model making and the Construction Holodeck to support state of the art digital workflows. 

The School offers a variety of courses that support skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering, building control, building services, facilities management, quantity surveying, planning, construction management, housing and commercial.    

Home to the Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC), the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, the regeneration of the former Springfield Brewery is central to the University’s vision of enhancing the student experience and supporting business growth. It is also home to the University’s new National Brownfield Research Institute for which the University recently secured £14.9 million funding from the BCLEP through the government’s Get Building Fund.   

Anyone interested in courses being offered at Springfield Campus should check out the website or register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.    


Notes to Editors:

About University of Wolverhampton:

A BSc (Hons) Architecture degree provides you with the knowledge and skills you need to excel in a wide range of associated design careers, including becoming a professional architect. If you would like to find out more, please visit   

About National Lottery Heritage Fund:

The National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds. The RAF Museum project has initially been granted round one development funding of £713,222 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £5million.

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK.

Each week, thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised for good causes across the UK.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

RAF Museum Midlands:

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  • Royal Air Force Museum Midlands, Lysander Avenue, Cosford, TF11 8UP
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