ONCE, not very long ago, the Yorkshire Air Museum was seen as a Mecca mostly for those who revel in wartime nostalgia.

Today that evocative and fascinating site in Halifax Way, Elvington, based on an authentic Second World War bomber command station, is increasingly regarded as a place of learning.

Ian Reed, its managing director and trustee, says: "Seven years ago, 75 per cent of our visitors were aged over 60.

"Today, nearly 80 per cent are aged under 40, and half of these are under 16-year-olds. So we have changed the whole profile of the air museum with our focus on children's education. It is what a museum devoted to the history of aviation is all about" It is also one of the reasons why the museum is seeking the Best Business And Education Link title as well as the new Tourism And Hospitality accolade in The Press Business Awards 2007.

Already the museum works closely with the North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership (NYBEP) and Setpoint North Yorkshire.

For instance, that setting where evidence of military engineering genius is everywhere, from restored Halifax bombers and snub-nosed commander crew buses, is the annual venue for Engineering Inspirations, a secondary school challenge and showcase, for 500 pupils competing for prizes sponsored by local and regional businesses.

Now, with NYBEP the museum has launched a successful primary school focused day called FlightPATH (Primary Activity Through History) based on the theme of flight. This saw 200 pupils attend in 2006 and a staggering 300 this year.

Key museum staff also devised workshops, activities, quizzes and word searches used there and at other external events supporting NYBEP and Setpoint.

School parties are encouraged to visit. Hayfield School fifth formers in Doncaster have twice taken part in museum workshops, talking to veterans, people involved in aircraft restoration and maintenance.

Meanwhile the nostalgia of the place makes it an interesting alternative venue for a variety of conferences, corporate functions, association gatherings and private parties.

That includes wedding blessing ceremonies in the Station Chapel, although there is not yet a licence to hold actual marriage ceremonies.

Its main function room, the Elvington Room can become a theatre, cabaret setting, classroom and freestanding exhibition space and much of the business is repeat from clients such as the Mercia Group, Bentley Motors, Yorkshire Water, the City of York Council, University Of York, the Forestry Commission and numerous banks and building societies.

Other areas can be made available for functions, including the main display hangar, which has been used for university balls as well as events for Asda supermarkets, car manufacturers and for education events.