The new, £15.7m Remembrance Centre at the National Memorial Arborteum opened its doors to the public on October 21.
Set for an official launch in March 2017, this ‘soft opening’ will offer a sneak preview to thousands of visitors over the winter months before officially opening-up to welcome some 500,000 visitors per year.
Its appearance has transformed the facilities on offer to visitors at the National Memorial Arboretum’s (http://www.thenma.org.uk/) home in Staffordshire.
The new Centre includes dedicated exhibition spaces and learning facilities that will enable the Arboretum to expand its engagement from 15,000 schoolchildren a year to 25,000. Improvements have been made to the reception area, restaurant, coffee shop and gift shop, while a new cloistered square and garden is being added. Entry to the Arboretum is free (£5 suggested contribution); and for £7.50 (adults) and £6 (children and concession), visitors to the new Centre will also be able to take advantage of a brand new interactive exhibition called Landscapes of Life which features fully immersive audio visual displays.
Crucially opened in time for Armistice Day, November 11, the Remembrance Centre will help to maintain and develop the Arboretum for future generations.
The National Memorial Arboretum itself is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance: a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.
It is part of The Royal British Legion, and employs 50 staff and has over 200 volunteers. Sited near Lichfield in Staffordshire at the heart of the nation, with 30,000 maturing trees and over 330 memorials, it is a lasting tribute to those who serve their country, die in conflict or have a special reason for being remembered.
Over 200 special events are held at the Arboretum annually. And the famous Armed Forces Memorial, dedicated in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen in October 2007, is the UK’s tribute to over 16,000 men and women who have been killed on duty or as a result of terrorist action since 1948 to the present day. Names are added annually to the giant Portland stone walls.
Further tourist information is available at http://www.enjoystaffordshire.com.
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