EAA AirVenture Museum
The EAA AirVenture Museum is a museum dedicated to the preservation and display of historical and experimental aircraft located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin adjacent to the Wittman Regional Airport. Paul Poberezny proposed the idea of the EAA Air Museum-Air Education center in August 1958. The current updated museum and headquarters was built in 1982, opening in 1983. The museum's collection displays over one hundred and fifty planes. The AirVenture Museum is a key tourist attraction in Oshkosh and is a center of activity throughout the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh event each summer.
The museum is open all year round with the exception of a few holidays. The museum contains a variety of planes purchased with visitor donations. Some of their airplanes include the Church Midwing, Funk B, and Monnett Moni. One of the museum's most popular planes is the Swallow OX-5. The Swallow OX-5 was designed for warfare and was built by Matty Laird. The plane, retired after eighty years of service, is used to provide rides to people coming to the museum. Visitors who have taken the plane ride offered by the museum can receive an EAA Eagle Flight Certificate and become a member of the World's Largest Logbook located in the museum. There is also a program for kids called the Young Eagle membership.
Young Eagle Program
The Young Eagle Program is designed for children between the ages of eight and seventeen. There are currently over one million members. Young Eagles members receive a free plane ride and a certificate of membership for life. Members also receive newsletters, information on upcoming events, and have a chance to win scholarships. The museum currently has its own newsletter called the "Sport Aviation", which involves the news, upcoming events, award recognitions, and other features about the museum. At all of EAA's events, Young Eagles are invited to participate and are usually recognized. There are also Young Eagle education sessions available at these events. Being a part of this program allows kids to learn facts about aviation and provides them an opportunity to see what an aircraft aviator does.
There are several options of how to explore the EAA AirVenture Museum. There are self-guided tours, group tours, and virtual tours. On the museum's website, you can see an interactive display of the museum. EAA members are entitled to tour the museum without having to pay a fee.
The self-guided tour can either be by just oneself or with an EAA staff member. Most of the EAA Museum staff are volunteers that are knowledgeable about aircraft.
For groups, there are three optional tours. First is the "Kitty Hawk Tour", which includes a "basic guided tour of the museum and a showing of the movie Air Show". A second group tour is the "Air Mall Tour" which can be taken only at night and shows tourists what the earliest days of aircraft were like. The third group option is the "Barnstormer Tour". This tour contains not only a showing of the museum, but also airplane rides.
The museum's library, movie theater, and website contain information about the planes.
Library and Attic
The library has been growing in magnitude since the museum first opened. It did not fully become a library until 1983, when the library was organized, materials were sorted into categories, and a scrapbook was started. There are many collections available to read in the library. The library contains information about the history of the museum, factual manuals about the aircraft, journals, and newsletters. The Attic is a special room contained in the museum that is only opened once a year for tourists. The Attic contains many "historical items" that used to be in the museum or in the AirVenture air shows.
- B-17 Tour
The B-17 owned by the museum is one of the few that can still be flown today. The museum's B-17 is flown around the country and stops at various locations to give extra lectures on the rare plane.
- Tri-Motor Tour
The Tri-Motor Tour is one of the most popular tours as the Ford Tri-Motor is one of the oldest planes the museum carries.
- Overnight Tour
The overnight tour consists of giving a large group a tour of the museum at night. The group gets access to the museum for a night and can see exhibits throughout the stay.
The EAA AirVenture Virtual Museum  allows internet users to interact with the museum's virtual presentations. Interactions include the AirVenture Museuem Virtual Tour all 360 degrees, Innovations Gallery Virtual Exhibit, Learn how a Pilot steers with Pitch, Yaw, and Roll, listen and watch the Timeless Voices of Aviation, sit inside the cockpit of a XP-51, sneak a peek at what is playing at the AirVenture theater, AirVenture Museum Webcast Archive, AirVenture Museum Live WebCams, and the B-17 Interactive Tool.
The EAA AirVenture Museum has a variety of optional activities. One can participate in a variety of activities such as paper airplane contests or model rocket construction. Also, anyone that is in the scouting program can earn their badges with multiple activities the museum puts on.
The museum contributes planes and funds to sponsor the EAA AirVenture event held throughout the summer. Many of the museum's planes are on display or flown in during the air shows during the event. The EAA AirVenture event started in Milwaukee at about the same time as the EAA AirVenture Museum opened up. After a couple of years, the event brought in so many people that they had to move the event to Oshkosh. It is a week long event in the middle of summer and it brings in thousands of people. Air shows, hundreds of planes, and many other attractions keep the tourists coming back for more each year.
Fantasy Flight Camps
This camp is for plane lovers. It takes place at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh and lasts for a couple of days. The people who participate in this camp get to take a tour of the museum that is led by a plane "specialist". Each camp is different in the fact that it focuses on one plane. The "specialist" goes into detail about a specific aircraft. At the end of the camp, each participant gets to take a ride in an airplane.
The AirVenture Museum has recently added several new attractions to the museum. One of the new additions opening in the summer of 2007 is the Pioneer Airport. The new airport will "take tourists back to what flying was in the earliest days of planes and aircraft." A second addition that will be open to the public will be located in the Innovations Gallery, which contains information about future aircraft. Tourists can occasionally attend talks by pilots of specific types of planes.
As for in the museum itself, the KidVenture Gallery, and SpaceShipOne have been added. The KidVenture Gallery is a hands-on exhibit specifically targeted towards children. There are several different types of simulations and virtual activities, like the "Chopper Challenge" and virtual hang gliding. This program was put together by members of the EAA, after noticing the popularity of these virtual activities during the summer EAA Adventure fly-in program. The SpaceShipOne, another new exhibit featured in the Innovations Gallery, displays the SpaceShipOne aircraft made by Burt Rutan. SpaceShipOne is an aircraft created with the purpose of flying to space and back. The creation of this aircraft was fueled by a contest with the winners receiving $10 million. Today at the EAA AirVenture museum an exact replica of the SpaceShipOne is displayed. Every hour a simulation including sound and video effects is played giving the viewers an idea of what is it like to fly in the SpaceShipOne. At one point during the simulation the aircraft completely changes its shape. This was a unique feature, which is on the original SpaceShipOne, added so that during re-entry into the atmosphere the ship keeps from overheating.
The museum is coming up with new events every day. One that was just recently planned is the Planes, Manes, and Automobiles. During this event, the museum will be hosting P-51 Mustang Warbirds and Ford Mustangs. During the event, there will also be other planes flying around and the event will showcase different styles of Ford Mustangs. Another popular event is the kite festival. During this event, a kite show is put on by "performers" and there is a "grand launch" of kites during the day.
- New Events
- Good Ol' Days
- Fall Color Flights
- Haunted Hangar
- Christmas in the Air
Pioneer Airport displays some of the oldest planes the museum has. This airport is located at Wittman Field and is open for all of summer and into the fall months. The Pioneer Airport  runs all of its planes off of a 2200 foot runway made of grass and is used to park cars during the AirVenture event. Although the airport is not available to tourists during AirVenture, it gets a lot of attention. The Pioneer Airport contains one of the most popular airplanes at the museum: the Ford Tri-Motor. Not only does this specific plane deliver rides, but it is also one of the oldest planes the museum owns. A large group of people can take this plane out at one time as it can hold up to nine people and the pilot. Pioneer Airport used to feature a Bell 47 helicopter that was available for rides, mostly during the AirVenture convention. Pioneer also featured a Steerman monoplane, also available for rides.
- Sport Aviation. February 1960.
- EAA Aviation Center, AirVenture Museum Aircraft Collection, AirVenture Museum, http://www.airventuremuseum.org/collection/aircraft
- Experimental Aircraft Association Incorporated, EAA Young Eagles, http://www.youngeagles.org
- EAA Members Gain Valuable New Benefit: Free Museum Admission (March 1, 2004) www.warbirds-eaa.org
- EAA Aviation Center, Group Tour Packages, EAA Group Tour Programs, http://www.airventuremuseum.org/information/grouptours.asp
- EAA Aviation Center, EAA Library, AirVenture Museum, http://www.airventuremuseum.org/collection/library.asp
- EAA Aviation Center, AirVenture Museum, Fantasy Flight Camps, http://www.airventuremuseum.org/flightops/fantasycamp/
- Mary Bergin, EAA's Flights of Fancy and Reality, The Capital Times 18 Nov. 2006
- EAA Aviation Center, AirVenture Museum, Wings on Strings Kite Festival, http://www.airventuremuseum.org/activities/events.asp
- Experimental Aircraft Association Incorporated, Take A Ride in the Sky at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, AirVenture Oshkosh, http://www.airventure.org/2007/events/airplane_rides.html, 2007
- "AirVenture Museum Home Page". April 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
- Bishop, Lester. "Emil Matthew "Matty" Laird 1886-1982." Early Aviators. Early Birds of Aviation. 29 Apr 2007 <http://www.earlyaviators.com/elaird.htm>.
- "EAA Young Eagles Home Page." EAA Young Eagles. 2007. EAA. 29 Apr 2007 <http://www.youngeagles.org/>.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to EAA AirVenture Museum.|