From humble beginnings as the South Yorkshire Aviation Society in 1973, the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum has grown and developed to become one of Doncaster and South Yorkshire's most popular attractions.
Formed in 1973 as the South Yorkshire Aviation Society, a display was soon established at Nostell Priory during 1976 as the Nostell Aviation Museum. The SYAS continued to display and maintain a small collection of aviation related artefacts in a small display area until 1981, when an ideal opportunity arose for the collection to be moved and displayed at Home Farm near Maltby, on the site of the former RAF Firbeck.
During the SYAS’s time at Firbeck the SYAS took the opportunity to change its name to the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum (SYAM) as the change more accurately represented the growing collection and displays of the society as a museum.
In 1998/9 the SYAM became aware that a 4 acre site on the former RAF Doncaster (Later Doncaster Aerodrome) would become available as Yorkshire Water were to leave their depot occupying the last remnants of the RAF Doncaster site. The site featured an original wartime Bellman hanger and two wartime wooden buildings, along with a number of smaller structures and a large modern built garage building.
Moving to Doncaster
After signing the lease for the new site with Doncaster Council, the Museum's collection was moved from RAF Firbeck to the new site, with assistance from the Territorial Army who transported many of the larger exhibits as part of a training exercise. Upon moving in to the site, the buildings were without electricity and generally in a state of disrepair. The museum opened to the public over the August Bank Holiday weekend in 1999.
In the immediate period after opening at Doncaster, much of the work focussed on site work and repairs to the building in order to bring them to a standard required for public displays. Electricity supplies to the Hangar and Buildings 19 and 21 were established, with the garage building being converted to function as the museums workshop.
Over the 25 years based at Doncaster, the South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum has continued to grow and develop, becoming a Registered Museum in 2003 and attaining Accredited Museum status in 2010 which recognises that the museum has attained a national governance standard on par with the major national museums.