About the Campaign
Together, we’ve written another amazing chapter in the history of Willow Run. But your support is still needed...
We’ve saved Rosie’s factory from demolition, now let’s get to work and fill it with history!
If these walls could talk… they’d tell a story. Of American know-how. Of social change. Of a country that pulled together, to get a tough job done. It’s a story to inspire future generations. Let’s tell it at Willow Run!
The Campaign’s Mission
The purpose of the Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant Campaign is to mobilize the resources needed to save, preserve, and renovate roughly 144,000 square feet of the 5 million square foot former Willow Run Bomber Plant, to eventually become the new home of the Yankee Air Museum.
The Yankee Air Museum, founded1981 and currently based on the eastern edge of Willow Run Airport, houses aviation- and history-related exhibits and programs, and preserves and maintains a small fleet of WWII-era flyable aircraft, including the majestic Yankee Lady B-17. Yankee has a collection of static aircraft on display, and hosts the popular Thunder Over Michigan Air Show every August. Yankee is rapidly outgrowing its current facility, and a future new home in a preserved portion of the Willow Run Bomber Plant would allow the Yankee Air Museum to expand, while preserving an important piece of American history.
A Portion of Willow Run Saved from Demolition: Restoration Begins
On October 30, 2014 Yankee Air Museum purchased 144,000 sq. ft. of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant along with 17 acres of land, while the remainder of the Plant was demolished. The portion of the historic Bomber Plant that Yankee was able to save and purchase was the iconic “Roll-out Hangar” at the eastern end of the plant, where the finished B-24 Liberator bombers rolled off the Bomber Plant assembly line and onto the runways of adjacent Willow Run Airport for gun and compass testing, and their maiden flight.
Restoration plans were already well underway at the time of the purchase, and began shortly thereafter. Work done to date includes surveying, planning, architecture, engineering, structural steel enhancement, analysis, plumbing, demolition, clean up, power washing, the construction of new walls, a new hangar door, temporary electrical and lighting, painting, and annex roof repairs. Many other small jobs were have been completed as well, along with future planning for this year’s renovation work and beyond.
But our work is far from done… a great deal of interior and exterior renovation work is still needed to prepare the historic structure and site to house a Museum.
Fundraising Continues: Goals for the Coming Year and Opportunities to Help
Fund Raising has begun in earnest for the next phase of the project, bringing all the utilities back to the building during the 2017 construction season.
We need to line up significant in-kind/pro-bono contributions in the following areas:
- Underground contractors critically needed to bring in the necessary utilities
- Concrete and asphalt companies critically needed to provide the new interior concrete floor and the exterior parking and drives
If you would like to be part of this fascinating and historical restoration project by stepping forward and helping with any of these pieces, please contact us by clicking here.
When completed, the total restoration cost will be approximately $18 million. Not all of this is cash donations. Some is longer term pledges that will help fund future work inside along with operational costs going forward. A good portion of the total funding is and will be in the form of in-kind/pro-bono donations from contractors and suppliers. Some of the many organizations who have stepped forward to help us are listed here. We have had almost 5,000 individual and corporate donors who have contributed funds to our campaign to “Save The Bomber Plant.”
Willow Run: A Proud Legacy Preserved… with Your Help!
A new home for the Yankee Air Museum in the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant not only honors the site’s historic past, but will also create an exciting and fitting new chapter for Willow Run. Along with our new next-door neighbors, the American Center for Mobility, a new home for the Yankee Air Museum inside a preserved and renovated portion of the Willow Run Bomber Plant would continue Willow Run’s legacy of breakthrough innovation, and use the excitement of aviation, technology, and history to inspire future generations to pursue STEM education.
Together, we “saved” Willow Run… Now, let’s finish the job!
The Michigan Aerospace Foundation
The Yankee Air Museum
Campaign Co-chairmen Astronaut Jack Lousma and former GM Executive Bob Lutz