RAF Museum tells story of its WWII German Dornier bomber with new interpretation zone and virtual reality apps

By Richard Moss | 23 September 2013

The RAF Museum has revealed its plans for a new interpretation centre, mobile applications with augmented reality and user generated content to help it share the preservation of the World Word Two German Dornier bomber it rescued from the seabed at Goodwin Sands in June 2011.

a photo of the relic Dornier in the preservation tunnels at RAF Museum Cosford
The Dornier Do 17 fuselage inside the preservation tunnels at RAF Museum Cosford.© Courtesy RAF Museum
Currently housed at its Cosford Conservation Centre, the Dornier is to be displayed and explored with the help of £75,000 from video game producer Wargaming.net

As well as a new interpretation centre, the Wargaming.net Interpretation Zone, at Cosford, the museum has been working with redLoop, the Middlesex University Design and Innovation Centre, to explore innovative approaches to display and interpretation that will utilise both RAF Museum sites at Cosford and London as well as the museum’s digital spaces.

A newly developed app will allow people to see the Dornier flying above the RAF Museum’s two sites via their phones and exhibitions at both sites will display multi-media content - from footage of the Dornier in action in 1940, to film of the recovery operation.

redLoop Director Dr Andy Bardill described the developments as a “'bleeding edge’ approach to interpretation in museum spaces” that will blend “physical and digital experiences throughout the exhibition scheme".

“This innovative approach will provide new visitor and educational experiences,” he added, “and enable the museum to engage with their audiences both on their museum sites and across the world.”

Various organisations across the globe have signed up to share these digital experiences. The Canada Aviation and Space Museum, The Air Force Museum of New Zealand Museum and the Pima Air & Space Museum/Arizona Aerospace Foundation will all allow visitors to see the augmented reality Dorniers through their smart phones, hovering in situ.

A new dedicated website will also be launched to tell the story of the Dornier and its recovery and conservation. Showcasing the social history behind the Dornier, the forensic science behind its discovery and recovery and archive footage from the Museum, the website will also publish user generated content.

The historic German bomber, the last intact example in the world, was shot down 72 years ago by RAF Bolton Paul Defiant fighters during a bombing raid over Kent airfields at the height of the Battle of Britain.

Its fragile, barnacle-encrusted remains were recovered from the seabed after a hard-fought fiundraising campaign by the RAF Museum and a complex recovery operation that was hampered by bad weather.

RAF Museum Director General, Peter Dye said he was “delighted” that Wargaming.net was funding the new interpretation zone for the aircraft.  

“The support of Wargaming will allow us to tell the story of the aircrafts’ recovery and conservation in an innovative way,” he said. “Augmented reality, mobile applications and the use of user generated content are new developments for the Museum and we are very excited about exploring their possibilities.”

And with the project being bank rolled by Wargaming.net, which was in the news recently as the backer of an aborted attempt to find buried Spitfires in Burma, there will also be the chance to witness the Dornier in action via a new console game, World of Warplanes.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

a photo of a relic plane being hosited onto a ship
The Dornier being hoisted onto a barge during its recovery in June 2013.© RAF Museum
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