The SA Air Force (SAAF) Museum at AFB Zwartkop is changing its opening hours as from next month with the public welcome from Wednesdays to Saturdays.
Museum Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Mike O’Connor said there was nothing sinister in the change of opening hours admitting it was “in part” an austerity measure but in no way to the detriment of public attendance.
“We have become so busy with visitors on weekdays that Museum personnel, the majority of them Reserve Force members, do not have the time to work on exhibits.
“Now Mondays and Tuesdays can be fully utilised to improve and add value to the various Museum exhibits.”
The same thinking will apply to the other SAAF Museum sites at AFB Ysterplaat and AFB Port Elizabeth as from September 1.
The museum at the Cape Town base will have the same public visiting hours as Zwartkop while Port Elizabeth will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Saturdays.
“While we are cutting down on the number of days the Museum and its two branches will be open it is not a permanent measure. Additionally, a start has already been made with the paperwork to make Sundays an open day. This is in response to the many requests we have had from not only military aviation enthusiasts but also the general aviation community and the public to ‘please, please, open on a Sunday’.
“I do not see this taking too long to finalise and I am sure it will be well supported once up and running,” he said.
As with the rest of the SAAF, where a period of austerity announced last year by immediate past Chief Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano, is still in force, the Museum also has to be “careful” on the expense side.
“By far the majority of Museum staff are Reserves and the new set-up will enable us to give them more full working days with a better outcome for the Museum in terms of improved exhibits.” O’Connor said.