Second World War Experience Centre Gets Full Museum Status

By David Prudames | 11 November 2003
Shows the blue and white logo of the Second World War Experience Centre at the centre of which are four cartoon images of a plane, a warship, a tank and a factory.

Photo: the centre opened in 1998 and is dedicated to preserving and recording the material evidence and personal experiences of those who participated in WWII.

The Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds has been granted full Registered Museum Status by Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries.

Established in 1998 the centre is dedicated to collecting, documenting, preserving, and exhibiting surviving material evidence and personal experiences of those who participated in the Second World War (1939-1945).

Museum status is set to be officially conferred upon the centre at a presentation on November 12, 2003, at the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds.

Shows a black and white photograph of three sailors in uniform.

Photo: Eric Such (on the right) who served in both the Navy and the Fleet Air Arm during WWII and shipmates.

Among the special guests at the ceremony will be distinguished WWII veteran Major-General Henry Woods and Sir Max Hastings, the first journalist to enter Port Stanley during the Falklands War and now a military historian.

Centre Chairman, George Kieffer explained what gaining registered museum status means to staff at the centre.

"We are absolutely delighted with the news as it confirms that the Centre has achieved a certain ‘quality standard’ in terms of the work that we do," he said.

Shows a photograph of a woman wearing white gloves and showing some artwork to a man, both are seated at a desk.

Photo: centre Business Director, Claire Harder shows a local high school student a collection of artwork by the eminent Scottish artist andsoldier, Fyffe Christie.

"I would like to pass on the thanks of the trustees to all the staff and volunteers who have made this achievement possible."

So far, the archive has gathered the personal memories and memorabilia of over 4,000 men, women and children who were involved in the Second World War.

However, by nature the centre is facing a race against time to gather further material before it is too late. As a result staff are always keen to accept donations of memorabilia and help from new volunteers.

Shows a photograph of a Christmas message sent home from the war to a sailor's family.

Photo: the Centre cares for Eric Such's substantial collection of photographs and memorabilia. More information about his wartime experiences and the material held in his collection at the Centre can be viewed by clicking here to visit the centre's website

"The Museum Registration Scheme was established over ten years ago and has become a quality standard for museums, setting minimum standards in collection care, public services and museum management," added Robin McDermott, Museums Officer for the Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and a centre Trustee.

"I was delighted that the centre was granted Full Registered Museum status and this is a result of a lot of hard work in terms of improving their systems of archival care and management to meet the standards required by Resource."

Although anyone can explore the centre’s vast and fascinating archives, it is best to phone ahead and book an appointment or use the website, which you can visit by clicking on this link.

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