ALVA announces a range of VE Day celebrations at the UK’s top attractions

The Horniman

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, ALVA, has announced a range of creative activities planned by its members to celebrate VE Day, despite the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions is pleased to announce that some of the UK’s top attractions have risen to the challenge of celebrating VE Day, despite the current restrictions in the UK due to COVID-19.

Friday 8 May 2020 is the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. From a virtual festival to Cathedral singing, the UK’s top attractions will mark this important event in a number of new and creative ways.

Celebrations and commemorations

Bernard Donoghue is the Director of ALVA. He says; “As all our members are currently closed, they are working hard to keep at the forefront of people’s minds through a variety of imaginative and creative digital experiences that commemorate VE Day and can be enjoyed from home during the Bank Holiday Weekend.

“Some members will be celebrating how their property, residents and key items in their collections played an important role in the War, others will be commemorating through music whether it be the ringing of bells or joining in with a performance of We’ll Meet Again.”

The National Military Service Museums, including The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force Museum and the Army Museum will be host a Virtual VE Day 75 Festival from Thursday to Saturday, with free online events such as live debates, decorating activities and a live Swing Dance Class, as well as a special sing-along concert with the Bluebird Belles.

Meanwhile, Durham Cathedral will broadcast a pre-recorded service through Facebook on Friday 8 May, with prayers in the DLI Garden and an organ recital of We’ll Meet Again.

Dancing and learning

People across the country will also be encouraged to get their dancing shoes on, with English Heritage hosting Dance for VE Day events such 1940’s dance lessons on social media, with professional lindy hop dancers an well as a Dance for VE Day event featuring a swing-time troupe and band.

The Southbank Centre is highlighting a YouTube recording of Britten’s War Requiem performed at the Royal Festival Hall, originally held to commemorate 100 years since the start of WWI. This features the
Royal Academy of Music and National Youth Choir of Great Britain, conducted by Marin Alsop.

UK Parliament, alongside Royal Holloway, is providing free online resources to help young people learn about WWII, while the Imperial War Museum will be sharing first-hand testimonies from the end of the war from its sound archive.

Museums celebrating VE Day

Meanwhile, the Science Museum will be sharing content on social media, looking at the impact of the wat on science, medicine, technology and engineering, and National Museums Scotland will share stories from its collection looking at the impact of the war on Scotland. The Museum of London and the Museum of London Docklands will both be showing content online, including personal accounts of London during the blitz.

The National Railway Museum is hosting a mini online exhibition, telling stories of the railways and their role in WWII and VE Day, as well as showcasing classic posters from the era. Also looking at transport during the war, Titanic Belfast and the SS Nomadic will explore some Shipyard Stories on their social channels.

Titanic Belfast

Titanic Belfast

Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, will share quotes, videos and content online, and Harewood House will also be telling stories of its role in both World Wars. Another key historic house, Waddesdon, will be looking at the stories of evacuees who stayed there during the war.

The ​Horniman Museum and Gardens will have content on its blog looking at the site in WWII, while The Churches Conservation Trust will be sharing the story St Giles’ Church, Imber.

The National Trust also has a schedule of VE Day events, as part of its regular digital programming. For example, it will use Treasure it Tuesday to explore places looked after by the National Trust that have World War II connections.

Many other ALVA members will also be hosting commemorative events to celebrate the milestone. For example, the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Royal Collection Trust, Royal Academy, V&A Dundee and more.