WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The National Museum of United State Air Force will open its fourth building and welcome visitors Wednesday, June 8 and will house materials guests currently must take a shuttle in order to reach.
“There’s something for everyone at the museum,” said Rob Bardua of the National Museum of United States Air Force Public Affairs Division. “You can learn about the aircraft or see the personal stories … Learn about history or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math [fields]. It’s a unique, one-of-a-kind place.”
The 224,000 square-foot building will include more than 70 aircraft, missiles and space vehicles within its Presidential, Research and Development and Space and Global Reach galleries, in addition to three varying STEM learning nodes. Museum guests must currently take a shuttle bus to Area B of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to visit the Presidential and Research and Development galleries and are limited to a 45-minute visit at a time.
Less than 10 percent of visitors would see the collections, which sparked the need for the expansion, according to Bardua. The building will additionally provide means for preserving some air crafts from Ohio’s weather elements.
“The fourth building gives people access to the Presidential and R and D collections; it has been limited before,” he said. “As we would open for the day, visitors would rush for the shuttle buses to the area, and once the buses were filled — they were filled. Some visitors would be disappointed.”
Talks of the fourth building, which costed $40.8 million of privately-funded Air Force Museum Foundation dollars, began after the Cold War and Missile and Space galleries opened in 2003 and 2004, respectively. No plans are currently in the works for an additional expansion, as Bardua said the museum’s main objective at this point includes moving aircraft into the new area and populating it with guests. Construction for such began in July 2014 and wrapped up this month.
It will open to the public Wednesday, June 8; museum officials are planning activities to continue the celebration the following weekend, Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12, although no specific events have been finalized at this point.
“[We will] continue to tell the Air Force story — it is a main reason for adding the fourth building,” Bardua said. “It’s vital to keep telling [that] story, provide the public with information about what the Air Force has done … “
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532, or on Twitter @wnvickers. For more content online, visit our website or like our Facebook page.