The NEW Yankee Air Museum
A new home in the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant will give the Yankee Air Museum the space it needs to achieve its full potential to entertain, educate and inspire!
Like the community of Willow Run workers that helped win World War II… together, we can do it!
Let’s finish the job! Now, it’s time to renovate and restore Willow Run, and fill it with exciting exhibits. Do your part. Click on the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!
A Hands-on Experience
The Bomber Plant location will reunite the Museum’s flyable historic aircraft with its ground-based exhibits and programs at a single site for the first time since the 2004 fire that destroyed the Yankee Air Museum’s initial home. Since the fire, the museum’s programs and exhibits and its flyable historic aircraft, the B-17 “Yankee Lady” and the B-25 “Yankee Warrior,” have been housed separately. This one change will bring the museum’s assets together again to give visitors a more engaging experience than has been possible in recent years.
Such a reunion will be doubly exciting as the Yankee Air Museum is not a “behind the ropes” aviation museum. Once the flyable historic aircraft, and the exhibits and programs, are back at a single site, visitors will again be able to see and touch the historic WWII era aircraft, and talk with flight, maintenance and restoration crews as they work on the planes.
The large space offered by a portion of the former Bomber Plant creates an opportunity to display more aircraft and exhibits. More importantly, it gives the Museum the space needed to assemble aircraft, artifacts and other exhibits into a timeline illustrating the development of aerospace technology from its earliest days to the present and beyond. Along this walk through aerospace history, visitors will encounter vignettes focusing on different eras, as well as program spaces including classrooms and a theater, located in close proximity to the exhibits.
Telling the “Rosie the Riveter” and War Production Story
The Willow Run Bomber Plant was the home of the original Rosie the Riveter, Rose Will Monroe from Pulaski, KY, as well as a WWII-era workforce of 42,000 people, as much as 30% of them women.
No museum in the US today tells the full story of the “Arsenal of Democracy” wartime production miracle, the many and varied efforts of Americans from all walks of life who served on “the Home Front” during WWII, plus the story of “Rosie the Riveter” and the entry of women and minority workers into the mainstream industrial workforce.
Willow Run provides the ideal setting for the Yankee Air Museum to expand its exhibit space devoted to this compelling narrative that triggered sweeping changes in our society, and marks a time when Americans from all walks of life united to do whatever they could to help win the war. From Victory Gardens to War Bonds, to movie stars like Hedy Lamarr serving coffee to soldiers on leave at the Hollywood Canteen, everybody did their part. The Yankee Air Museum already has exhibits, in our temporary home, devoted to this story, and we have collected many artifacts and oral histories that we don’t currently have the space or resources to display. What better place than a portion of the historic Willow Run Plant to create a lasting monument to Rosie, an American icon, and the historical events that gave birth to her.
Inspiration for a New Generation: Science and Technology
Although the Yankee Air Museum’s focus so far has been military aviation, the move to the Bomber Plant isn’t about creating a bigger museum of that type. Nor is the goal is to create a new Museum solely about how America overcame the threat of global fascism during World War II. Rather, it is to create a museum that draws on that history to inspire a new generation to acquire the scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical skills necessary to maintain our global economic competitiveness and security.
To do that, the new museum will use the excitement that can be generated by the flyable historic aircraft and their stories as a means of igniting interest (especially among children and youth) in the underlying science and technology of flight. These new extensions of the museum’s storyline will also include educational and career exploration components aimed at giving young visitors a sense of the opportunities in the STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) fields and educational paths to those opportunities.
A Community Asset
Finally, in addition to being a valuable educational resource and compelling attraction that brings visitors to our community, a greatly expanded Yankee Air Museum made possible by the Bomber Plant location will also be a significant new venue for community and corporate events with capacity for more than 1,000 persons. To view or download a high resolution PDF version of the proposed museum floorpan diagram, click here.
There’s a lot of preservation and renovation work to be done… but together, we can do it!
Do your part. Click on the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!
The Michigan Aerospace Foundation
The Yankee Air Museum
Campaign Co-chairmen Astronaut Jack Lousma and
former GM Executive Bob Lutz