OBJECTS | ARTWORK | PHOTOS | DOCUMENTS
THE MUSUEM’S COLLECTION
We collect objects of particular significance to the history of aviation and spaceflight. The collection, preservation, and interpretation of these objects is one of the primary ways we achieve our mission. It is important to understand what we mean when we speak about the “collection”. The Museum’s collection generally refers to everything the Museum holds in trust, including objects, artwork, archival photographs, documents, and more. A collection of objects can refer to a small subset of objects within the entire collection, typically organized by a topic, a program, or where the collection originated.
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.
The Yankee Air Museum has collected unique and fascinating artifacts that pertained to aviation history and the military. Many items tell the heroic tales of past battles as well as engineering breakthroughs that paralleled with our mission statement. From the 1980s to the early 2000s, Museum staff placed new emphasis on items long thought by experts to be worth collecting. During this time, the museum acquired the iconic, static B-52 Stratofortress, our flyable C-47 Douglas Skytrain, B-25 Mitchel, and the B-17 Flying Fortress where it was our mission to be able to have visitors fly in these historic aircraft.
After the devastating fire in 2004, the Museum was eager to get back on its feet. A new location was found and Museum staff began rebuilding the collection. By 2010, many people recognized that the museum’s collections were unique and quickly re-growing. But they had also become unfocused and largely inaccessible to both museum staff and the public. With the image of the soon-to-be National Museum of Aviation and Technology in mind, the Museum began to align with national museum standards. This new era is marked by a flurry of activity to focus and get a handle on the collections—including an updated formal Collections Policy, curator-led exhibit and collection plans, and the introduction of a digitized collection. Items now being collected will allow us to be in sync with the Collections Policy and will also allow us to grow as we become a National Museum.
THE FUTURE IS LOOKING BRIGHT
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. The new museum 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.
DONATE TO THE COLLECTION
The Yankee Air Museum welcomes and encourages charitable donations of artifacts, memorabilia, and objects of significance to aviation and military history. Find out more by clicking below.
What’s in a “Collection”?
We collect objects of particular significance to the history of aviation and spaceflight. The collection, preservation, and interpretation of these objects is one of the primary ways we achieve our mission.
It is important to understand what we mean when we speak about the “collection”. The Museum’s collection generally refers to everything the Museum holds in trust, including objects, artwork, archival photographs, documents, and more. A collection of objects can refer to a small subset of objects within the entire collection, typically organized by a topic, a program, or where the collection originated.
Who Works with Collections?
Curators are staff within the Museum who are responsible for collecting, studying, and interpreting the objects and records in our overall collection. Archives staff are responsible for the care of archival collections (photographs, documents, etc.) and Collections staff are responsible for the care, movement, preservation, and restoration of objects. All of these staff do original research in the course of carrying out their work with the collection.
When doing research, Historians use primary sources to support their statements. Primary sources are a first-hand, original account, record, or evidence about a person, place, object, or event. Oral histories, objects, photographs, and documents such as newspapers, ledgers, census records, diaries, journals, and inventories are primary sources. An excellent reference guide to working with primary sources is available from the National Museum of American History.
How Do We Decide What to Collect?
We use several criteria when determining whether items should be acquired, including:
- The object is consistent with the Museum’s goals.
- It is appropriate for exhibition purposes and proves useful as an educational tool within an exhibit.
- The object was associated with a notable, historical event related to military, aviation, spaceflight and/or depicts such an event.
- The object has significant intrinsic value because it is the best of its type or one of a kind.
- The object will contribute to research and scholarship in disciplines related to the history of military, aviation and/or spaceflight.
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