Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm museum in Somerset is saved from closure thanks to emergency Government funding

The Fleet Air Arm museum in Yeovilton will be able to re-open now emergency funding has been secured. Credit: ITV West Country

The National Museum of the Royal Navy, which includes the Fleet Air Arm museum in Yeovilton, is to receive emergency Government funding to secure its future.

The closure during lockdown has left a shortfall of £6.35 million, leaving it on the edge of bankruptcy but it will now be able to look at re-opening its sites to visitors.

Concorde 002 - seen here on her maiden flight from Filton in 1969 - is one of the stars of the collection at the Fleet Air Arm Museum Credit: PA

Dominic Tweddle, Director General for the NMRN says, “I cannot express the relief we all felt when were told that additional funding would be made available to us. It has been incredibly difficult over the last weeks and months with so much uncertainty around the future of the Museum. We are incredibly grateful to HM Treasury, MOD and the Royal Navy for all of their support and also to all of those who have advocated on our behalf."

The Fleet Air Arm Museum also houses historic documents, including Eric 'Winkle' Browns flight log book from World War II. Credit: PA

The Fleet Air Arm Museum, based at RNAS Yeovilton near Ilchester, is devoted to the history of British naval aviation. It has an extensive collection of military and civilian aircraft, aero engines, models of aircraft and Royal Navy ships, and paintings and drawings related to naval aviation.

Many UK national museums receive between 60% and 80% of their total funding from central government. The NMRN is a national museum but only 19% of its funding is provided by the Government.

This means that, unlike the Imperial War Museum, National Army Museum or Royal Air Force Museum, the NMRN cannot offer free entry and is dependent on the income it makes from admissions and donations. It is in a similar situation to the independent museum sector, which is also suffering financially during Covid-19.

Helicopters on display at the Fleet Air Arm museum in Somerset. Credit: ITV West Country

The money will not cover the National Museum's long term costs. Dominic Tweddle says "Difficult decisions will still need to be made to ensure that we will still be here next year and the year after. The only real solution is a fundamental overhaul of our funding model, something I intend to pursue in the coming months.”

The National Museum of the Royal Navy group includes the Royal Naval Museum, the Fleet Air Arm Museum, the Royal Navy Submarine Museum with HMS Alliance, Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower, the Royal Marines Museum, HMS Victory, HMS Caroline, HMS M33, HMS Warrior and NMRN Hartlepool (including HMS Trincomalee).