DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The long-awaited fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is set to open to the public.
After more than a decade in the making, the museum’s latest expansion will feature four galleries spanning more than 200,000 square feet of space.
“This is a huge day for our Air Force, our museum, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and our local community,” said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jack Hudson, Director of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. “We don’t do this too often. Every 14 or 15 years, we’ve had a new building open.”
One of the biggest changes visitors will notice is that people will no longer need to ride a shuttle to see President John F. Kennedy’s Air Force One. It is now part of the 10-plane Presidential Gallery.
The three other galleries feature exhibits on space travel, global reach efforts, and research and development.
Officials said putting together the fourth building took years of fundraising and searching for the right artifacts.
More than $40 million was gifted by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. to help build the expansion.
“Two-thirds of the money that was required to build this building came from individual contributions and contributions from corporations,” said Phil Soucy, Chairman for the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. “The other third came from our business operations here in the museum.”
A grand opening ceremony will take place inside the expansion starting at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7.
The museum will officially open the new building to the public at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8.
Celebrations will continue at the museum over the following weekend.