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LGM-30A Minuteman I
Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, the largest aviation museum in Illinoismarker, occupies part of the grounds of the decommissioned Chanute Air Force Basemarker in Rantoul, Illinoismarker. It and the base were named for Octave Chanute, railroad engineer and aviation pioneer. The museum is dedicated to the life and works of Chanute, the former air base, the history of aviation in the state of Illinois, and hosts an annual air show.

Highlights of the museum include a collection of over 40 aircraft including actual military fighters, bombers, rescue, recon, and cargo aircraft. Many of these were used for training purposes at Chanute, and most are on loan from the United States Air Force Museummarker. Other exhibits of note include a replica of the Wright 1903 Flyer, a large collection of Frasca Flight Simulators, and tributes to the veterans who have served in America's conflicts and wars.

The museum offers summer day camp programs, including a week-long aviation camp for teens and a science camp for elementary-aged children. In addition, the museum offers various educational and social events throughout the year.

The facility enjoys direct runway access to Rantoul National Aviation Center Airport - Frank Elliot Field, another successful use of the former base facilities. Fly-in visitors are welcomed. Ample vehicle and bus parking is also available to accommodate groups.


Chanute Air Force Base operated in Rantoul from 1917-1993. After decommission, the cleanup and conversion of the grounds began. Economic redevelopment of the former base was a paramount concern to the surrounding community. As of 2008, portions of the site are still unoccupied, due in part to environmental concerns including asbestos contamination. Nevertheless, much has been repurposed into civilian concerns. The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum was one of the earliest efforts, opening in 1994.

The museum is located in Grissom Hall, which functioned as the missile maintenance training facility during active Air Force operations. Until base closure in 1993, all Air Force Minuteman missile maintenance training was provided at Chanute. The building has largely been preserved and restored to its condition at the time of base closure; hence, four authentic Minuteman training silos remain on display at the museum.

The museum is administered under the direction of a private foundation.

Aircraft & Missile Exhibits

Replica of the Chanute 1896 Glider
HU-16B Albatross Flying Boat
WV-2/EC-121K Warning Star

Other Exhibits

  • The 99th Pursuit Squadron at Chanute Field - The First Active Unit of the Tuskegee Airmen
  • The Eighth Air Force Memorial
  • Life at Chanute 1917-1993
  • Minuteman ICBM Maintenance Training Silos
  • Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE)
  • Frasca Flight Simulators
  • We Are All Recruiters (WEAR)
  • Koreamarker: The Forgotten War
  • Military Aviation Hall of Fame of Illinois
  • Aircraft Engines
  • Hum of the Motor Replaces the Sound of the Reaper
  • POW/MIA You Are Not Forgotten
  • History of Chanute Air Force Base
  • Rantoul Historical Society

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