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The National Museum of the United States Air Force (formerly the United States Air Force Museum) is the official National Museum of the United States Air Force and is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Basemarker, near Daytonmarker, Ohiomarker. The NMUSAF is the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum. More than 400 aircraft and missiles are on display, most of them indoors. The museum draws over 1.3 million visitors per year and is one of the single most visited tourist attractions in Ohio. Admission is free.

History

Museum entrance
The museum dates back to 1923 when the Engineering Division at Dayton'smarker McCook Fieldmarker first collected technical artifacts for preservation. In 1927 it moved to then-Wright Fieldmarker and was housed in a succession of buildings. In 1954 as the Air Force Museum it was housed in its first permanent facility, Building 89 of the former Patterson Field in Fairbornmarker, which had been an engine overhaul hangar, and many of its aircraft were parked outside and exposed to the weather. It remained there until 1971 when the current facility was first opened. Not including its annex on Wright Field proper, the museum has more than tripled in square footage since its inception in 1971.

Exhibits and collections

The museum's collection contains many rare aircraft of historical or technological importance as well as various memorabilia and artifacts relating to the history and development of aviation. Included in the permanent collections are one of four surviving Convair B-36s, the only surviving XB-70 Valkyrie, and Bockscar—the B-29 Superfortress that dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki during World War II.

Presidential aircraft

The museum has several Presidential aircraft, including those used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The centerpiece of the Presidential aircraft collection is SAM 26000, the first aircraft to be called Air Force One, a modified Boeing 707 used regularly by Presidents John F. Kennedy through Richard Nixon during his first term; after which it served as the backup Presidential aircraft. This was the aircraft that took President and Mrs. Kennedy to Dallasmarker on November 22, 1963—the day of the President's assassination. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president aboard it shortly after the assassination; this aircraft then carried the slain President's body back to Washingtonmarker.

Pioneers of flight

There is a large section of the museum dedicated to pioneers of flight, especially the Wright Brothers, who conducted some of their experiments at nearby Huffman Prairiemarker. A replica of the Wrights' 1909 Military Flyer is on display, as well as other Wright brothers artifacts. The building also hosts the National Aviation Hall of Famemarker, which includes several educational exhibits.

Uniforms and clothing

The museum has a large inventory of USAAF and Air Force clothing and uniforms in its collection. At any time over fifty WWII vintage A-2 leather flying jacket are on display, many of which belonged to famous figures in Air Force history. Others are beautifully painted to depict the airplanes and missions flown by their former owners. Included in the museum's displays are the jacket worn by Gen. James Stewart, P-38 ace Maj. Richard I. Bong's sheepskin B-3 jacket and boots, an A-2 jacket worn by one of the few USAAF pilots to leave the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbormarker, and President Ronald Reagan's peacoat.

Other exhibits and attractions

The museum completed the construction of a third hangar and hall of missiles in 2004. It now houses post-Cold War-era planes such as the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber (test aircraft), the F-117 Nighthawk stealth ground attack aircraft and others. Fund raising has begun for a fourth hangar to house the museum's space collection, presidential planes and an enlarged educational outreach area, making all more accessible to the public.

The museum has an IMAX theater that shows, for a fee, aviation and space oriented IMAX films interspersed primarily with other documentaries.

The museum owns other aircraft that are on loan to other aerospace museums in the United States. Most of these loaned aircraft duplicate aircraft exhibited by the museum. The museum's staff has very high standards for the quality of care/restoration of loaned assets, and has, in the past, revoked these loans when it was deemed that these other museums did not have the resources to properly care for an artifact. This happened in the case of the famous B-17, Memphis Belle.

Future developments

The Museum is currently raising funds for the construction of a fourth hangar gallery to be built behind the current Missile Gallery. The project is expected to cost $40,000,000. When completed it will house all the Museum's research and development aircraft as well as the presidential aircraft, freeing those hangars for use in future restoration projects, as well as the eventual display of the Convair XC-99marker.

Partial list of collection

The museum is divided into galleries, covering broad historic trends in military aviation. These are further broken down into exhibits detailing specific time periods and showing aircraft in their historical context.

All aircraft in this list were designed/built in the United States of Americamarker, unless otherwise indicated.

Early Years Gallery (1901-1941)

Early years (1901-1917)



World War I (1917-1918)

250 px


Inter-War years (1919-1941)



World War II

P-47D-40RA 45-49167 Five by Five at US Air Force Museum

Attack Aircraft



Bomber Aircraft



Cargo Aircraft



Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft



Liaison Aircraft



Multi-Porpose Aircraft



Rotary Aircraft



Pursuit Aircraft



Trainer Aircraft



Foreign Aircraft



Korean War



Vietnam War



Cold War



Post Cold War



Missile and Space Gallery



Presidential aircraft

VC-137C - SAM 26000 arriving at the Museum


Research and development aircraft



References



External links






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