11:49AM, Monday 15 April 2013
Years of determination and struggle were celebrated on Saturday as supporters of the Maidenhead Heritage Centre marked its 20th birthday.
Its premises in Park Street have been the centre’s home since 2008.
But dreams of a Maidenhead museum date back to April 1993 when the centre opened its doors at its first home in Bridge Street.
It welcomed 2,600 visitors in the first year.
There have been seven temporary homes since then with £1m being raised in sponsorship since 2006 spent on acquiring and refurbishing the site in Park Street.
Richard Poad is chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre.
He said: "We think of this as our community memory bank.
"People bring in their photographs and their heirlooms and the collection just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
"In a global world people need to appreciate their roots. We aim to tell the story of Maidenhead. Windsor has its royal history. We have three Roman villas and a past that saw us at the centre of the main route across southern England."
Upstairs at the centre the brave pilots of the Air Training Auxilliary - based at White Waltham during the war - are commemorated by photographs and personal possessions.
A Spitfire simulator made by volunteers offers a unique chance to sample what it must have felt like to fly one.
Another appeal is shortly being launched to pay for the installation of another range of display cases in the centre's Baylis Gallery.
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