Expansion plans have been announced for the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum at Manston.
The team is aiming to raise £100,000 to create a new building at the site which will house classrooms for school visits.
A fundraising appeal page has been launched with organisers saying: “We are planning an extension to the museum building to replace the portacabin with a larger permanent building.
“This new building will include an education space (classroom), so that we can better accommodate the needs of local schools when they visit us and also benefit local community groups.
“We anticipate our building project will cost somewhere in the region of £100,000. Whilst it is an ambitious project, we feel we have a duty to develop the concept of an education space to further our community engagement, the education of the general public and to remain a focal point for remembrance and reconciliation in years to come.
“We would be grateful for any financial assistance that could be provided for our project in the form of a charitable donation.”
The Museum was founded in 1981 by the Royal Air Force to house The Manston Spitfire which had served as the station gate-guardian aircraft since 1955. The building was funded by donations from the local community.
In 1988 a further gallery building was erected to house the Hawker Hurricane IIC. Since then, the administration and storage facilities have been housed in a portacabin that was provided by the Royal Air Force.
The Museum is staffed almost entirely by volunteers from all walks of life. They staff the gift shop, look after the Memorial Garden and grounds, maintain the collection and displays, and instruct on the Spitfire simulator. All funds to run and maintain the museum are raised by donations, purchases from the gift shop, and by customers who fly in the Spitfire simulator.
Since 2018 The Manston Spitfire Experience Spitfire simulator in the Spitfire Hall has proved successful in terms of fundraising and providing a way for the museum to meaningfully engage with visitors, including the Air Training Corps and Scout groups.
However, the space now occupied by the Simulator was previously used for school visits and these have become difficult to accommodate, prompting the plan for the new building.