Strategic Air and Space Museum
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (October 2011)|
SR-71A Blackbird on display
|Location||Ashland, Nebraska (1998– )
Offutt AFB (1959–1998)
|Director||Michael McGinnis |
The Strategic Air and Space Museum is a museum focusing on aircraft and nuclear missiles of the United States Air Force. It is located near Ashland, Nebraska, along Interstate 80 southwest of Omaha. The objective of the museum is to preserve and display historic aircraft, missile, and space vehicles and provide educational resources. It is regarded as having one of the top collections of strategic aircraft. The museum is located near several other tourist attractions including the Platte River State Park, the Mahoney State Park, the drive-through Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari, several golf courses, and a soon-to-be vineyard.
Offutt Air Force Base in eastern Nebraska became the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command in 1948, and continues as the headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command. The museum at Offutt, adjacent to Bellevue, a suburb south of Omaha, began with its first airplane in 1959 as the Strategic Aerospace Museum. General Curtis LeMay's vision of a museum that preserved historic aircraft had become a reality. Over the following years, the outdoor museum's name changed to the Strategic Air Command Museum or SAC Museum.
On May 16, 1998, after a $33 million grass roots capital campaign, it moved indoors to a location more accessible to the public, between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska's largest population centers.
On June 15, 2001, the name of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Museum was officially changed to the Strategic Air & Space Museum. This change incorporated the museum's rich past while attempting to reach a larger audience through dynamic programming and exciting educational programs that seek to captivate the interests and imaginations of everyone.
The Museum is a $29.5 million, 300,000-square-foot (28,000 m2) building that features a glass atrium, two aircraft display hangars, a traveling exhibit area, a children's interactive gallery, a 200-seat theater, a museum store, an aircraft restoration gallery, and a snack bar. The glass atrium is constructed of 525 glass panels that encase a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The two aircraft display hangars protect the aircraft collection and exhibits from harsh outdoor elements. The museum participates in an exhibit exchange program with other national museums and displays them in the traveling exhibit area. Three large missiles are displayed vertically outdoors in front of the museum.
- Avro Vulcan (serial no. XM573), one of three on display in the United States
- Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress (serial no. 44-83559)
- Boeing B-29 Superfortress (serial no. 44-84076)
- Boeing B-47 Stratojet (serial no. 52-1412)
- Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (serial no. 52-8711)
- Boeing KC-97G Stratofreighter (serial no. 53-0198)
- Boeing EC-135 Looking Glass (serial no. 63-8049)
- Convair B-36J Peacemaker (serial no. 52-2217), one of only four surviving
- Convair B-58 Hustler (serial no. 61-2059)
- Lockheed U-2C Dragon Lady (serial no. 56-6701)
- Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird (serial no. 61-7964)
- McDonnell XF-85 Goblin (serial no. 46-0524), one of only two ever produced
- North American B-25 Mitchell (serial no. 44-28738), as well as a partial fuselage of another aircraft.
- Apollo Block I Command Module, flown on AS-201
- Rockwell B-1A Lancer (serial no. 76-0174), one of only two surviving
- General Dynamics FB-111A Aardvark (serial no. 68-0267)
- Republic F-105D Thunderchief (serial no. 61-0069), mounted on a pedestal south of the museum near I-80
Other Air Force museums
- See: National Museum of the United States Air Force and National Museum of the USAF #Other Air Force museums
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