Today, a friend and I went over to Dayton to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
There is a special place in my heart for this museum. For about four years when I was growing up, we lived in the Dayton area. That means we went to the United States Air Force Museum many times. This was back before the name changed and there were only two hangars. When we moved from the area, we didn’t go as often since it would be quite the trip.
A couple of years ago, I decided to go. So much had changed since my last visit. The name had changed and a third hangar and a space/missile ‘silo’ had been added. I’m not sure, but it’s possible the Presidential and R&D Galleries weren’t accessible before then either. Or my parents decided it wasn’t worth trying to take us out. Either way, the changes were many but cool.
Evidently it had been over ten years since my friend had gone, so the changes were new to him. But it’s not like the museum was exactly the same as when I was last there either. They had moved some planes, some coming down to rest on the floor, some being hung from the ceiling. It was as much fun as always.
But this time I realized something. I always start out in the Early Years gallery and go chronologically forward. I think I know why. It’s not just wanting to see things chronologically. It’s that I feel more of a sense of history there and it slowly fades as I go through to the newer planes.
I admit, though, some of the more advanced planes are really cool to look at. It’s probably also partially due to the fact that by the time I get to the Cold War gallery, I’ve seen so many already, I might be a little burnt out.
Either way, I love going through that museum. And it’s not just the planes, there are so many other exhibits. So many artifacts and tools and uniforms. They really help to tell the story of the planes, the men and women who served, and the history of the Air Force. I love it!
I can’t wait for next year when the new hangar opens. It will be so nice to be able to spend as much time as I want to with the Presidential planes. Granted just being near those planes and the history they hold is an amazing feeling. But knowing there’s no ticking clock to get back to the museum will make it even better.