Wow! That’s one way to describe the National Museum of the US Air Force. It was the day after Thanksgiving in 2008 when we ventured up to Dayton, Ohio. The Museum is located on the grounds of the historic Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Wright brothers used a portion of the base as a testing ground for their aircraft. The Patterson moniker comes from Frank Stuart Patterson, who was killed in a crash at the base in 1918.
There are many other attractions at the National Museum of the US Air force . There is an IMAX theater. There is a presidential gallery containing planes used by presidents, including JFK’s Air Force One. Next to this gallery is a Research and Development Gallery. Both of these require a special bus trip. Outside the main hangers is a outdoor air park, containing a Starlifter, Hercules, Lodestar, along with the WWII-era tower, and other planes and exhibits.
Undoubtedly, there is more to do here than a person has time for in one day; that is why we are planning to go back. The special tower into the hanger where the staff restores aircraft (advance reservations must be made) is on our list.
From a Teacher’s perspective: Elizabeth was not able to go on this trip. (It was the day after Thanksgiving. I was shopping.)
From a Historian’s perspective: The sheer number of exhibits, and their quality, is overwhelming.
From an eight-year-old’s perspective: Nathaniel really enjoyed the space part of the gallery, especially the Apollo 15 capsule. He is very interested in the mechanics of flight and found the museum very engaging, if a bit much to take in. He really enjoyed the statue of Icarus, as we had just studied Greek mythology.
So, what if you are not into military history? Go for the technology. The number of rare planes, cut-away engines, and other exhibits should make this museum appealing on a variety of levels. You can learn more by visiting the museum website by following this link. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission is free, except for the IMAX. Special thanks to my father-in-law for taking this trip with us.