All rank abandon, ye who enter here.
Shrivenham- The official ground-breaking of the new Royal Army Chaplains’ Museum was held yesterday (29 September) at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham, with Major General Andrew Roe, Chief Executive of the Defence Academy and Commandant of Joint Services Command and Staff College, and the Venerable Clinton Langston, Chaplain-General attending. The new museum is expected to open in summer 2021.
With an increasingly diverse collection of artefacts, it will tell the story of Faith in the Forces up to the present day. Centred on a purpose-built exhibition gallery, the museum complex will also incorporate a faith garden and a research facility housed in the Beckett Gate Lodge.
While preserving chaplaincy heritage, the museum and its archives will support those studying at the Defence Academy to better understand the enduring significance of faith and belief among those whom they will command. Open to the public, the museum will also be a resource for school groups studying themes, such as remembrance or war and peace, further strengthening ties with the local community.
In March 2020, the Armed Forces’ Chaplaincy Centre (AFCC) relocated from Amport House to its new home in Beckett House at the Defence Academy. Beckett House will preserve the reflective, hospitable, and all-ranks nature of Amport House, while capitalising on the fresh educational and strategic opportunities afforded by its location as part of the Defence Academy, within the Ministry of Defence’s Strategic Command.
The construction of the museum, and relocation of AFCC, is being delivered as part of the Defence Estate Optimisation (DEO) Portfolio. DEO is an ambitious 25-year portfolio of construction activity, unit and personnel moves, and site disposals that will deliver a better structured, more economical estate that more effectively supports military capability.
The Army Museums Ogilby Trust, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Defence Estate Optimisation, Strategic Command infrastructure, the National Army Museum, Army Heritage Branch, and the Station team at Shrivenham have all provided crucial support to the project.
The Defence Academy, as part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), provides post-graduate education to train leaders from across the globe in strategy, operations, tactics, military command and staff leadership, business skills, technology, languages and international engagement.