The National Cold War Exhibition

Shropshire, U.K.

Sited at RAF Cosford in Shropshire (UK), the National Cold War Exhibition is part of the RAF Museum. This outstanding exhibition makes intelligent use of audio-visual techniques to augment and interpret the physical exhibits. Electrosonic was the principal AV systems integrator.

The Submarine exhibit from above

The project was initiated to solve the urgent problem of storing part of the RAF Museum’s inventory of historic aircraft, some of which were deteriorating as outdoor exhibits. The realization that the aircraft concerned were all of the Cold War era led to the idea of a Cold War Exhibition, and the exhibition includes aircraft and artifacts from both NATO and Warsaw Pact countries.

The Museum is in the form of two triangular spaces divided by a central walkway. The building was designed by architects Fielden Clegg Bradley. The aircraft exhibits are augmented by displays of land vehicles, missiles and other bits of cold war apparatus. But all this needs interpretation, and this is done by exhibition “islands” located throughout the space.

The supporting exhibits were designed by Neal Potter. In keeping with the Cold War theme, the exhibition islands are presented as “Hotspots,” and each recall some aspect of the Cold War and its impact on the everyday life of the populations that lived under its threat.

The National Cold War Exhibition at RAF Cosford

The Hotspot subjects are: Mutually Assured Destruction; Surveillance and the Cuban Missile Crisis; Berlin and the Berlin Airlift; The Far East and Global Conflict; Space and Missile.

Each “Hotspot” is of cylindrical construction where the outside of the cylinder carries a series of graphic panels, and the inside forms a small show space where visitors see a mixed media show based on a combination of multi-channel video and lighting effects.

AV production was by Newangle and exhibit fabrication by Beck Interiors. Interactive kiosks were supplied under a separate contract by Spiral Products.


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Aircraft exhibits at the National Cold War Exhibition