- PLAN YOUR VISIT
- GIFT STORE
- GET INVOLVED
- ABOUT US
home / Museum Development
HONORING THE PAST... BUILDING THE FUTURE
THE AVIATION HALL PROJECT
The National Museum of World War II Aviation is expanding its Colorado Springs campus with the development of the Aviation Hall Project. This multi-phased expansion will feature a new 72,000 square-foot aircraft display hangar and an 86,000 square-foot building that will house new exhibit galleries, an events center, and a state-of-the-art education facility. The education facility will be home base for the National Aerospace Education Center, a coalition of education agencies that are working together to create a continuum of STEM education and training opportunities for students of all ages.
The museum has received a $1 million grant from the Slattery Family Foundation to fund design of the overall project. GE Johnson Construction is the lead design-build firm for the project and has selected CSNA Architects as the lead designer. Gallagher and Associates, a world-renowned museum design firm, has been selected to design and develop the museum’s exhibit galleries. All members of the design-build team are under contract and the design process is well underway.
A $40 million capital campaign for the Aviation Hall Project was initiated in late 2015. The museum has raised more than half of the funds for Phase I of the Aviation Hall Project. Construction is planned to begin in Spring 2017.
INSIDE AVIATION HALL
Once completed, Aviation Hall will become the heart of the National Museum of World War II Aviation campus. The new 86,000 square foot facility will house the museum's main exhibit gallery and the National Aerospace Education Center.
Visitors will enter the building through a 20,000 sq. ft. glass-walled atrium that will allow them to see through to the airfield beyond. A B-25 Mitchell bomber will be suspended from the atrium ceiling, configured as if it had just departed from a nearby aircraft carrier deck as a part of the famed 1942 Doolittle raid on Japan. Large graphic panels and other exhibits will help set the stage for the experience that follows. The atrium will be designed to serve as an event center that can be used in conjunction with the museum's exhibit galleries and education facilities.
THE NATIONAL AEROSPACE EDUCATION CENTER
MEETINGS AND EVENTS
The 20,000 square foot atrium in Aviation Hall will be designed to host meetings and events of up to 800 people in a banquet configuration, or 1200 people at a reception. Atrium exhibits and graphic displays will be equipped with hidden rollers so that they can be relocated or stored to accomodate any type of event. Museum doors and partitions will be designed to allow for access between the event and the museum galleries when appropriate. Parking facilities will be designed to handle well in excess of the peak load for the largest possible event at the museum.
THE MUSEUM EXHIBIT GALLERIES
The north wing of Aviation Hall will house 20,560 square feet of exhibits, artifacts and interactive displays that document the history and heritage of World War II aviation. Visitors will enter the museum through the gift shop, flow through the galleries, and then move on to the museum's hangar complex where fully restored World War II aircraft will be on display.
DISPLAYS, EXHIBITS, HISTORICAL NARRATIVE
Regrettable but true: the further away in time that we move from WWII, the less we remember about the important lessons the conflict taught. The National Museum of World War II Aviation will bring those lessons forward, through informative and highly interactive exhibits and displays designed to fulfill all interest levels, from schoolchild to scholar.
Gallagher & Associates is the nation’s premier designer of museums, with a portfolio of projects here in the US and in locations around the world. Their expertise ensures a world-class museum, backed up by strong collaboration with a carefully assembled team of historians and experts in WWII aviation and the push to build America’s airpower.
The Museum will be divided into six broad topical areas.
Examines the period prior to World War II, including the lack of preparedness in America and the devastating impact of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Mobilizing American Airpower
Provides important perspective on the massive effort to update America’s arsenal of aircraft. Younger people today are generally unaware that thousands of Americans worked in locations across the country to design and construct the aircraft that helped turn the tide against the Axis powers.
Weathering the Storm 1941-1943
As the Japanese continued their conquest of nations in the Pacific, German submarines patrolled in the Atlantic, including just off America’s shores. It was a critical and highly threatening period.
Striking Back 1942-1944
Finally the “Arsenal of Democracy” was fully employed against our enemies and slowly the victories against the Japanese, and the devastating bombing of Germany helped turn the tide of war.
Controlling the Skies 1944-1945
The destruction of Japanese naval power and the massive coordinated raids against Germany would not have been possible without the skills of American air and ground crews, backed up by massive supplies of war materials from the home front. After the most massive conflict the world had seen, the Allies saved the world for democracy.
Today’s system of air travel and the worldwide distribution of consumer goods are just two of the long lasting legacies of WWII airpower. Our legacy from the air war is deep and rich.
NEED FOR THE PROJECT
Currently, the museum only has room to display approximately one third of its extensive collection of World War II aircraft. The remainder of the collection is stored in a nearby hangar and is rotated through the public areas of the museum. The Aviation Hall project includes the construction of a new 72,000 square foot aircraft storage and display hangar that will allow the museum to display the entire collection at once.
The museum’s exhibit galleries and workshops are currently housed in a 44,000 square foot facility that was originally designed as an aircraft hangar complex. Due to space limitations, the museum is forced to alternate days between public tours and the museum’s fast-growing education program. This severely constrains the capacity of both the exhibit and education programs, and virtually eliminates any possibility of future growth.
The Aviation Hall project will address this problem though the creation of an 86,000 square foot facility that will accommodate simultaneous operation of both public tours and the museum’s education activities. The additional space will allow the museum to expand both programs to a six-day-a-week schedule, generating higher visitation and greatly expanding the museum’s capacity to reach students through its education program. In addition, the new facility will be designed to host public meetings and events, providing a new revenue source that will help sustain museum operations in the years to come.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The Aviation Hall Project will elevate the National Museum of World War II Aviation to a museum of national historical significance. It will be a place that inspires and entertains people as they gain a better understanding of the role that aviation played at a critical turning point in our nation’s history. The museum will join two other world class-projects currently under development in Colorado Springs—the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Air Force Academy Visitor Center—to create a magnet for historical research and cultural tourism that will draw visitors from all over the world.
While historical preservation and tourism are vitally important to the museum, the primary motivation for pursuing the project is education. The National Aerospace Education Center will engage thousands of students each year, inspiring them to learn, and showing them the possibilities of a STEM related career. This unique educational resource will create a “STEM” pipeline that will provide students with new opportunities to succeed, and will ensure a steady flow of students who fully prepared to enter the workforce.
And of course aircraft!
WestPac Restorations, one of America’s premier restorers of WWII-vintage aircraft is co-located with the Museum. Visitors to the Museum may also take the few steps over to WestPac’s state-of-the-art restoration facilities to see flight-ready aircraft and aircraft in various stages of completion.