MET Studio has worked with a team from the RAF Museum London to design an immersive visitor experience, 'RAF Stories: The First 100 Years 1918-2018,' to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.
The brief from the RAF Museum was to tell the RAF's 100-year history through a human and personal perspective while showcasing their unique collection of diverse objects from cutlery to aircraft. As a result, aircraft are displayed alongside relevant historic and contemporary objects, details of innovative technologies, global alliances and partnerships with industry. Personal stories about the extraordinary people of and connected to the RAF are highlighted throughout. Interactive experiences complement the exhibits to take every visitor on a journey of discovery.
"From the beginning we understood the Museum's brief that the story of the RAF should not be just about the aircraft, missiles and missions," said Peter Karn, Creative Director at MET Studio. "We worked with the Museum team to ensure this experience is far more powerful - connecting emotionally with visitors by bringing the human stories of those involved with the RAF over the past 100 years to life."
Touching and emotive tales of heroism are captured, such as that of Noor Inayat Khan, a Sufi Muslim teacher raised in both London and Paris. After the German invasion of France, Noor escaped to London to join the Women's Auxiliary Air Force and in 1942 was recruited as a secret agent, becoming the first woman radio operator dropped behind enemy lines where she operated assisting the Parisian Resistance. Noor Inayat Khan was captured, tortured and eventually executed without once revealing information to the enemy.
Or Paul Chester Brickhill who, flying his Spitfire for the RAF in 1943, was shot down and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III, the 'escape-proof' camp at Sagan in Silesia. While there, Paul was recruited by the 'X' organisation led by 'Big X' Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, who masterminded the mass break-out from the camp that later became known as 'The Great Escape'. Paul's claustrophobia meant he stayed behind, instead becoming the historian of this epic escape. He went on to write books that made historic films, from 'The Great Escape' to 'The Dam Busters' and 'Reach for the Sky'. His books, and the films they inspired, defined the public's understanding of the RAF after the Second World War and are featured in the exhibition.