Ciara Harper, Head of Marketing & Communications at Shuttleworth, shares what they’ve been doing to make Aviation History virtual
Image: Aviation Art session held over Zoom © Ciara Harper
As the Head of Marketing & Communications at Shuttleworth (a private historic aerodrome, aircraft collection and garden), it’s part of my strategy to create engaging events for the winter period when our hangars are too cold for lengthy workshops. In the short term, building on this work started before the pandemic has enabled us to connect with our audiences during COVID-19. The long term aim is to partner with other organisations, for example Bletchley Park, to offer customer experiences in the off-season that will also translate to visitors on site during the peak season.
“Our core audience, many of whom are not necessarily well versed on technology have learned to use Zoom and are now quite open to this delivery format”
‘Ask the Pilots’ was a live Zoom session with three pilots broadcasting from three different locations over 45 minutes with a Q&A session afterwards. This idea built on previous online recordings of Q&As with pilots from live events in the past. For the Zoom event, questions had been pre-supplied from those booking, and the pilots covered these as they introduced aircraft, gave close up look around, and gave their own view on what makes the aircraft special to fly. This theme for this session was on the racing aircraft, with a Mew Gull, DH88 Comet and Hawk Speed 6 featured. Pricing was £5 or £10 (with a voluntary donation).
Aviation Sketching was a ticketed, free draw along session for all ages, covering the DH88 Comet with a Guild of Aviation Artists representative explaining materials and showing how to capture the aircraft step by step. Owing to the popularity of the first session, we released a follow-up with a Spitfire aircraft and intend to produce more of these sessions in the future.
The result of running these events has been that our core audience, many of whom are quite hands-on and not necessarily well versed on technology, have learned to use Zoom and are now quite open to this delivery format. Visitor engagement has increased, as has the appetite for finding out more about specific parts of the Collection, and seeing it live.