The National Museum of the United States Air Force (formerly the United States Air Force Museum) is the official United States Air Force Museum located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, six miles (9.7 km) northeast of Dayton, Ohio. The NMUSAF is the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum, with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display. The museum draws about a million visitors annually, making it one of Ohio’s most frequently visited tourist attractions.
The museum dates to 1923, when the Engineering Division at Dayton‘s McCook Field first collected technical artifacts for preservation. In 1927, it moved to then-Wright Field in a laboratory building. In 1932, the collection was named the Army Aeronautical Museum and placed in a WPA building from 1935 until World War II. In 1948, the collection remained private as the Air Force Technical Museum. In 1954, the Air Force Museum became public and was housed in its first permanent facility, building 89 of the former Patterson Field in Fairborn, which had been an engine overhaul hangar. Many of its aircraft were parked outside and exposed to the weather.
Through the 1960s, Eugene Kettering, son of Charles F. Kettering, led the project to build a permanent structure to house the collections and became the first chairman of the Air Force Museum Foundation board. When he died in 1969, his widow Virginia took over the project. Her “determination, logic, and meticulous attention” kept it on track, and the current facility opened in 1971. Not including its annex on Wright Field proper, the museum has more than tripled in square footage since 1971, with the addition of a second hangar in 1988, a third in 2003, and a fourth in 2016. Bed Bug Exterminator Dayton
Exhibits and Collections
The museum’s collection contains many rare aircraft of historical or technological importance and various memorabilia and artifacts from the history and development of aviation. Among them is the Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavour which orbited the Moon 74 times in 1971, one of four surviving Convair B-36 Peacemakers, the only surviving North American XB-70 Valkyrie and Bockscar—the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki during the last days of World War II.
In 2010, the museum launched its 360-degree Virtual Tour, allowing most aircraft and exhibits to be viewed online. In 2016, the museum opened its 224,000-square-foot (20,800 m2) fourth building, bringing its size to 1,120,000 square feet (104,000 m2). The Air Force Museum Foundation privately financed the addition for $40.8 million (equivalent to $43.9 million in 2020). The building houses more than 70 aircraft, missiles, and space vehicles in four new galleries – Presidential, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach, and three science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) Learning Nodes.
Address: 1100 Spaatz St, Dayton, OH
Check out other attractions like Boonshoft Museum of Discovery