RAF Museum's Adam Shepherd speaks to Centenary News about Centenary preparations

Posted on centenarynews.com on 05 February 2013
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Centenary News spoke with Adam Shepherd, Head of Collections Management at the RAF Museum, about the Museum’s current projects and plans for the Centenary commemorations.

Centenary News: What projects are you currently working on?

Adam Shepherd: Two of our major projects at the moment relate to the digitisation of war documents. The first is Casualty Cards; we have a collection of around 55,000 ranging from 1912 to 1929. We recently finished digitizing them all and are currently in the process of indexing them. The other is the digitising of the RAF Muster Roll and first RAF Air Force List, which record information on over 200,000 RAF personnel serving on 1st April 1918 – the day the service was formed.

CN: What are your plans for the information after the indexing process is finished?

AS: The Museum recently received a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn foundation to enable a the development of a website, through which all the data will be made accessible once it has been organised. We’re aiming to launch it in 2014, in line with the centenary.

CN: It is a challenge for you to make the Centenary relevant for a young audience?

AS: It is certainly a challenge to inspire and attract a young audience. People want to see more than just aeroplanes and war. Relating human experiences is key to understanding what the war was like and these stories and artefacts really appeal to younger generations. The response to our 100 First Air War Objects consultation has been impressive, so we’d be keen to continue enabling public participation as we develop and refine the Museum’s First World War exhibition.

CN: What is your reaction to the Government’s plans for the Centenary Commemorations, as outlined by David Cameron? Do you think they justify the event?

AS: The emphasis placed on conserving, exploring, sharing and remembering is one that ties in very well with the Museum’s project to use a wider range of its First World War collections and make them accessible to a wider audience. Delving into personal and local histories will, I think, provide a platform through which more individuals and communities will become aware of the great changes that the war introduced within our society as a whole. The First World War shaped the world we live. Stories such as the advancement of women and the rapid development of technology are part of our story. So while we remember the war we will also, through effective interpretation of the conflict, learn more about our place in history and the responsibility we have to remember those who served.

To take part in the RAF Museum's Future Exhibition Survey, click here. To view the Museum’s Flickr stream, click here

Images courtesy of the RAF Museum website.