The Yankee Air Museum’s exhibitions cover global conflicts from World War One to the present through displays that offer visitors an opportunity to experience those conflicts through the men and woman who lived it. Many items in the collection – including but not limited to uniforms, weaponry, aircraft, medals, letters, artwork, photographs, and other mementos – are currently on exhibit in the Museum. The majority of the collection are kept safely in storage for research and future exhibitions, or are being restored to their original condition. The Museum also has a large collection of oral histories conducted with veterans of all branches and the civilians who helped at the home front.
In 2012, we began a campaign to save the original Willow Run Bomber Plant to be the new home of the Museum. The National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run will become the Museum’s new name, when the Yankee Air Museum moves into the building. There, in the roughly 144,000 square feet that will be renovated, will house our growing collection of more than 5,000 artifacts. We will also be able to house our collection of static aircraft and The David and Andrea Robertson Education Center inside. The new location of the museum will allow for the Yankee Air Museum to bring the excitement of the flyable aircraft, exhibits, restoration and educational programs back to a single site. In early 2016, we moved the first three aircraft into the Bomber Plant. Various pieces of the Museum will continue to move into the Bomber Plant as it is undergoing renovation. It is estimated the new Museum will be fully opened by 2019.
The new Museum will:
- Maintain the Yankee Air Museum’s commitment to “hands on” exhibits and a museum floor that is (generally) free of ropes or other barriers separating visitors from the exhibits.
- Collect, restore, and preserve artifacts purposefully to help tell specific stories and/or illustrate science/ engineering principles as well as oral histories from participants in events falling within the museum’s storyline.
- Focus on many of the technological, manufacturing, and business visionaries who played key roles in the development of aviation as a means of humanizing the stories presented.
- Weave STEM learning opportunities and accounts of American Culture into the various exhibits.
The purposes of the Museum are to:
- Preserve the American and regional aviation heritage and tell its stories.
- Preserve part of the Willow Run Bomber Plant for future generations; offer a historical interpretation of the structure and site that puts the extraordinary Willow Run story into its larger economic, social, and cultural history context.
- Create and present exciting, engaging, family-friendly exhibits and programs for community, corporate, and family events.