Haynes International Motor Museum opened Phase One of its £4.2 million upgrade in time for the Good Friday crowds.
Seventeen volunteers with an average age of 72 years old moved exhibition material, 187 cars and motorcycles with a combined weight of over 1000 tons in a little over 14 hours. The oldest volunteer was 84 years old Derek Ayres and the youngest 54 year old Alan Goddard.
The exhibition organisation was effectively a giant tile puzzle, which had to be completed on time to avoid disappointing the Easter crowds. Museum volunteers, despite their advancing years proved to be more than equal to the job.
The redevelopment, which includes new display halls, café, shop and state of the art conferencing and banqueting suites, will provide a completely new façade to the museum. The development has been privately funded by founder and Chairman John H Haynes OBE, who opened the museum with just 33 cars, housed in one hall, back in July 1985.
Phase one has been nicknamed ‘The Black Box’ due to its exterior. The Black Box, a huge two-storey display area, overlooks the Haynes test track and is divided into two areas – The Vroom Room on the ground floor and The Motorcycle Mezzanine on the upper.
The Vroom Room, spanning over 360 square metres and accommodating around 18 to 20 cars, is dedicated to high powered, high performance cars, while the Motorcycle Mezzanine, at 330 square metres, will create a permanent home for the museum’s two-wheeled collection of around 70 motorbikes which includes the British Motorcycle and the Forshaw Speedway Collection, the World’s largest and most complete Speedway display.
Prior to the opening of the new exhibition halls, Haynes will reveal a £250,000 new family entertainment zone in the museum’s grounds called Haynes Motorland, featuring a 1,500 square metre adventure playground with a myriad of motoring themed interactive games and miniature vehicles for children to enjoy. There are also two classic buses – one featuring a cinema and the other a soft play area – and a new go-kart circuit known as ‘Haynes Hatch’ with battery operated vehicles.