The AAM Summer Residency

The American Air Museum Summer Residency was a unique professional development opportunity run by IWM Duxford between 2012-2015. It brought together teachers from the USA and UK for two weeks, to share ideas and practice while immersed in the setting of IWM Duxford’s historic Second World War airfield.

The Summer Residency last ran from Thursday 30 July to Thursday 13 August 2015. The teachers who took part in this programme were able to build a transatlantic network of colleagues, learn from others in a collaborative and inspiring environment, and develop their knowledge of Second World War history through close encounters with primary evidence and science and technology.

They took part in exclusive tours and special lectures at the museum and also visited local historical sites. Museum professionals and wartime veterans delivered sessions designed to deepen their understanding of the Second World War, especially the air war and the importance of technology. In 2015, the teachers worked together, drawing from primary sources, to create learning activities that they tested on 16–18-year-old students in a one-day skills session at the end of the Residency.

Visits and talks included:

  • Behind the scenes with the IWM’s Conservation Department
  • Tours of the Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley
  • P-51 ‘Mustang’ – how engineering and technological developments changed the way battles were fought
  • Museum learning masterclasses on aircraft, collections and teaching the Holocaust using objects

The programme aimed to be demanding, but rewarding. Teachers were able to create material to take back to their classrooms, but also had the opportunity for deeper reflection than it is possible to achieve during term time.

Participation in the Summer Residency was subsidised and the majority of expenses including accommodation, meals, transport to IWM Duxford and field trips plus educational resources were free of charge. In return, the teachers needed to commit to carrying out a class project with their students at their school. They were also asked to submit short reports reflecting on their experience.

Eligibility for the AAM Summer Residency

To be eligible, teachers needed to be either:
• A high school history teacher with responsibility for teaching the Second World War
• A STEM teacher with responsibility for teaching aviation studies, design and technology or other related subjects

Here are some comments from participants:

‘Words cannot describe how much of a morale boost this opportunity has given me in terms of my teaching strategies and ideas.’

‘The things that you allowed me and the other members of the program to experience are going to stay with me for the rest of my life and I feel that my students are going to greatly benefit from what I experienced.’

‘My three weeks at Duxford provided me with more real learning than some entire semesters at university.’