DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The world’s largest collection of military aircraft is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a special exhibit now open to mark the milestone.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force opened its Centennial Exhibit to the public Sunday after a ceremony was held Saturday night.

Visitors to the gallery will find a collection that describes how the museum has grown with everything from old photos to old souvenirs. The Air Force Museum pre-dates the birth of the Air Force, which was established in 1947.

“A group of visionaries recognized the need to preserve the history and tell the story of air power in the United States of America,” Vice Chief of Space Operations, US Space Force Gen. David Thompson said.

It started in 1923 as a small collection from the Army Air Corps at McCook Field in Dayton. Back in 1935, the museum moved into Building 12 on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Then in 1971, President Richard Nixon dedicated the museum where it currently stands.

The US Air Force Museum now contains more than 350 aircraft and artifacts spanning 19 acres.

“There’s many more artifacts that are going to be added to this museum in the coming decades,” Gen. Duke Richardson, commander of the Air Force Material Command said. “Let’s think about and imagine what the next hundred years will be, because I think we’re going to fill it.”

Every year, thousands of visitors from all around the world stop by just to take a look and experience what the museum has to offer for people of all ages. As visitors walk down galleries depicting the past, leaders of the Air Force Museum Foundation are looking forward to the future.

“To remain an integral part in helping to tell the airmen and guardian stories, and really, in the end, inspiring the new generation of an air and space leaders,” Air Force Museum Foundation Chair Lt. Gen C.D. Moore II, USAF (Retired) said.

The Air Force Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.