RAF Museum Highly Commended at 2015 Museums and Heritage Awards
5th May 2015
Pilots of the Caribbean: Volunteers of African Heritage in the RAF tells the story of Black servicemen and women from the Caribbean, Africa and Britain who volunteered to serve in the Royal Air Force in two World Wars and the subsequent peace. These volunteers fought and died for their mother country and for freedom, and the exhibition commemorates and celebrates their vital contribution to the defence of Britain, her Empire and Commonwealth.
The exhibition also highlights the RAF's success in embracing diversity, demonstrating how the rich, cosmopolitan nature of modern Britain owes much to the Black men and women who wore air force blue.
'Pilots', was curated in partnership with Black Cultural Archives with an initial call out to the Black British community which encouraged a dialogue, engagement and sharing of stories. The exhibition display incorporates these stories along with archive materials, video footage and photographs.
The temporary exhibition was opened in November 2013 at the Museum's North London site by Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE. In 2014 it was on display at the Mitchel Library in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games and it is currently on display at the Museum site at Cosford in the West Midlands. It has been an incredibly popular exhibition with visits from Black History Groups across the country, local dignitaries and celebrities such as JLS and Reggae icon Eddy Grant.
An online version of the exhibition is in development and plans are now afoot to tour the exhibition across RAF Stations around the UK.