We are currently working with the Army to identify the best site on which to build the new museum.
Although the Army had allocated Avon Camp West as the site for the new museum in 2017, this decision was reversed in May 2020 with the Chief of the General Staff indicating that a further strategic review was required.
It should be on MOD land, relatively close to the Royal Artillery’s home at Larkhill, and large enough to accommodate all of the proposed indoor and outdoor features, along with associated infrastructure such as parking. The site should be easily accessible by road and would ideally have excellent views over the Salisbury Plain Training Area.
The main building will provide around 8,000m2 of floor space. Most of this will be used for the museum galleries, but it also includes space for a café, shop, education rooms, meeting rooms and a lecture theatre. The overall site should be large enough to accommodate the museum building, outdoor features (including children’s play area, display arena, WW1 trench system and conservation workshop) and parking. Additional space would be required adjacent to the main site, to provide extra parking on occasional event days.
No, this will be a military museum with associated activities and displays, such as the WW1 trench system and conservation workshop, which will help to explain and highlight its key themes and messages.
Yes, we will be recruiting volunteers for a wide range of new roles, including welcoming visitors, guiding, storytelling, assisting education groups, and gardening. We believe the opportunity for people to get involved is one of the most exciting benefits that the new museum will bring to Wiltshire. We are already recruiting new people to get involved in archive research, maintaining historic vehicles and conserving artefacts (ranging from medals to missiles).
Our current small team of volunteers has already made great progress and has also enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people, gain fresh skills and help us to care for a unique part of our Nation's heritage.
The initial build and fit out will be funded primarily by the Regiment, but it is likely that we will also take forward a fundraising campaign.
We don’t have a date yet, but it is likely to take us at least two years to plan and deliver the new museum.
The planned opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm, throughout the year.
The admission price has not yet been set but research indicates that an adult ticket price of around £12 would be considered good value for money.
Yes, all serving Royal Artillery personnel will get free entry to the museum, and so will all Gunner veterans.
It is difficult to predict visitor numbers at a completely new attraction. We believe that the new museum would be financially sustainable with around 35,000 paying visitors each year, comparable to attractions such as the Army Flying Museum at Middle Wallop. However, we hope to eventually achieve many more than this, with numbers perhaps comparable to those at the Fleet Air Arm Museum (Yeovilton) or Royal Armouries Fort Nelson (near Portsmouth).
The Woolwich location proved to be unattractive to many potential visitors, and it was difficult to compete with the many other visitor attractions in other parts of London, including two major military museums with free entry.
The site provided little opportunity to bring visits to life with re-enactments, equipment deployments, armoured vehicle rides and blank firing, or immersive experiences such as the planned WW1 trench. The museum also occupied very old buildings which proved very expensive to heat and maintain, and veteran volunteers were not available in significant numbers. Finally, for much of its lifespan many significant artefacts (including the Railway Gun and much of the Cold War and contemporary collection) were not available as part of the visitor journey.
We are planning to hold two or three major events each year, and numbers will be kept relatively low, with daily attendances starting at around 1,000 and growing to 3,500.
A typical event is likely to include arena demonstrations, living history groups, equipment displays and re-enactments.
We anticipate that the museum team could eventually grow to around 40 full-time equivalent staff, and we hope many of these jobs will appeal to local people. We also anticipate an additional boost to local jobs as a result of the museum’s positive impact on the local tourism economy, and through the use of local suppliers and businesses to support the construction and operation of the museum.
We will continue to hold local consultation events, and have also established a Community Liaison Group to facilitate communication, share information and engage in constructive discussions about the design, construction and operational aspects of the museum project. The group’s terms of reference are available through local parish councils.
The museum will be the most significant civil-military integration site in the area, and the only one operating outside military security fencing. Volunteering, participation and a range of activities will bring communities together, providing opportunities to become part of a vibrant, friendly and inclusive museum community.
No, the Royal Artillery Museum is a registered charity which exists to preserve and promote Gunner heritage. Any profits made by the museum will help secure the long-term conservation of the museum collection.
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