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(01) We heard something on the news about the fourth building. What’s going on?

The museum held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the fourth building on June 3, 2014. Construction is expected to begin mid-July. The construction contract for the museum's fourth building was awarded on Dec. 2, 2013, to Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District.

(02) Why is the museum planning to build additional galleries? Why is a fourth building necessary?

The fourth building is vital to growing our ability to tell the Air Force story, to provide greater public understanding and appreciation for the Air Force's role as an integrated air, space and cyberspace force and provide new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities for America's youth. The museum's statutory responsibility to preserve and present the history and heritage of the USAF as well as educate and inspire our youth, remains an important national mission.

The 224,000 square foot, climate-controlled fourth building will allow dedicated gallery space to present the Air Force's past, present and future in space and the opportunity to consolidate the presidential and research and development aircraft, currently located on the controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson AFB, to the museum's main campus. In addition, the building will house aircraft such as the C-141C Hanoi Taxi and the C-130E, which are currently outdoors, as part of the Global Reach Gallery.

Click here for more information about the museum's expansion.

(03) Who will build the new fourth building?

The construction contract for the museum's new 224,000 square foot building was awarded on Dec. 2, 2013, to Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C. for the amount of $35.426 million, and is being privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, a non-profit organization chartered to assist in the development and expansion of the museum's facilities.

As a design build project, the building design, which will be similar to the museum's three existing hangars, will be refined during construction.

(04) How is the building being paid for and how much will it cost?

The fourth building is being privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit organization chartered to assist the museum with the development and expansion of facilities.

In addition to the $1 million already gifted to the Air Force for the pre-construction costs, the Foundation has over $38 million available to cover fourth building construction and administration costs. Total project costs will be determined once the contract is completed.

As part of the Air Force Museum Foundation's Expanding the Legacy capital campaign, the Foundation will continue to raise funds to meet the $46 million campaign goal to finance additional fourth building options and requirements.

(05) When will construction begin, and when will the building be open to the public?

Construction is to begin in mid-July 2014 and the building is expected to be completed in late summer 2015. The museum will begin populating the building that fall until all exhibits are completed. A public opening is anticipated in 2016.

(06) What is the size of the fourth building?

The building will be 224,000 square feet -- similar in size and shape to the museum's three existing hangars.

(07) The museum has mentioned other options. What are these options?

Additional options include theatrical lighting, cafe and west tow road. The opportunity to implement any of these options will be determined by the amount of funds available. The Air Force Museum Foundation will continue the Expanding the Legacy capital campaign for the fourth building to meet its $46 million goal in order to fund these options as well as other educational requirements including STEM Learning Nodes and WiFi.

(08) The museum claims the new building will be LEED 3.0 Silver certified. What does that mean?

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which focuses on encouraging a more sustainable approach to the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated.

The LEED certification process uses a point system to determine the environmental merits of a building. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

For more information, visit the USGBC website.

(09) What exhibits/aircraft will be housed in the fourth building?

The fourth building will house four major elements of the Air Force story: the Presidential Aircraft Gallery, the Research & Development Gallery, the Space Gallery and the Global Reach Gallery. The museum's goal is to have as many aircraft and aerospace vehicles in these galleries as possible. Museum staff has developed a conceptual draft of the aircraft layout and will continue to refine it as the project moves forward.

The Presidential Aircraft Gallery will allow the museum to relocate and expand one of its most popular galleries, currently located on a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson AFB and accessible by bus to a small percentage of museum visitors. The fourth building will provide all visitors the opportunity to view this historic collection of presidential aircraft, and walk through four of them, including aircraft used by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower as well as the Boeing VC-137C used by eight presidents, also known as SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000.

The Research & Development Gallery will also be relocated from the base and offers visitors the opportunity to view the world's only remaining XB-70 and other aerospace vehicles. The exotic XB-70 could fly three times the speed of sound and was used as a research aircraft for the advanced study of aerodynamics, propulsion and other subjects. Research and development aerospace vehicles represent advances in technological problem solving and will increase the museum's opportunities to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) themes and principles.

The new Space Gallery will showcase the Space Shuttle Exhibit featuring NASA's first Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT-1), a high-fidelity representation of a space shuttle crew station used primarily for on-orbit crew training and engineering evaluations. The exhibit, currently located in the Cold War Gallery, allows visitors to experience a full-size representation of a NASA space shuttle payload bay, which displays a Teal Ruby satellite, and look into the flight deck and mid-deck levels of the CCT. The exhibit will be moved to the fourth building, along with a 60-seat dedicated educational area or STEM Learning Node and two interactive space shuttle landing simulators. Current plans call for the gallery to include a Titan IV space launch vehicle and satellite booster rocket, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft and many NASA artifacts such as a nose cap assembly, landing gear strut and a variety of astronaut equipment. A range of satellites and related items will showcase the Air Force's vast reconnaissance, early warning, communications and other space-based capabilities.

Providing airlift remains a major mission of the USAF and it forms a critical part of the Air Force's ability to maintain global reach. The Global Reach Gallery will give the opportunity to house large aircraft currently in the museum's collection, such as the C-130E and the C-141 Hanoi Taxi, which airlifted the first American POWs to freedom from Hanoi, North Vietnam in 1973. The Air Force's airlift, aeromedical and evacuation missions will also be explained in this gallery.

Click here to view artists' renderings of the fourth building.

(10) Why did the museum decide to move R&D aircraft into the fourth building?

The decision to move some of the R&D aircraft into the fourth building was driven by budget reductions, as well as the desire to display many rare, one-of-a-kind aircraft, such as the XB-70, which are highly regarded by our visitors, in the main museum facility. This allows all visitors to have the opportunity to see these aircraft and the museum to minimize shuttle bus expenditures.

(11) Are there any aircraft currently on display in the Presidential and Research & Development Galleries that will not be included in the fourth building?

As museum staff refines the initial designs, all galleries will include as many aircraft as possible. The fourth building will provide all visitors the opportunity to view the museum's collection of nine presidential aircraft. The building will also include nearly all of the aircraft currently on display in the Research & Development Gallery.

(12) What will happen to aircraft currently on display in those galleries that may not fit in the fourth building?

The museum's goal is to have as many aircraft and aerospace vehicles in the fourth building as possible. As some exhibits, such as the Space Shuttle Exhibit, currently in the Cold War Gallery, are relocated to the fourth building, space will become available in other galleries. During the relocation process, museum staff will determine if any items unable to be included in the fourth building can be placed appropriately in other galleries. Items unable to be accommodated will be placed in secure storage pending future display availability.

(13) How can I see aircraft that remain in storage?

Aircraft that are placed in storage are unavailable to the public.

(14) Does the museum still plan to get a C-5 and/or KC-135?

In order to make room for the additional R&D aircraft, acquisition of some global reach aircraft that were originally planned for the fourth building, such as the still active C-5 and KC-135, will be deferred until they can be accommodated.

(15) Will items currently not on display go into the new building?

The museum has thousands of items in storage, and only about 7 percent of the artifacts that are in the collection here on the museum's main campus are on display. The Titan IV rocket is one example of an artifact in storage that is planned to go on display in the fourth building.

(16) The new building is supposed to include a Space Shuttle Exhibit. Is that the same as the CCT the museum received in 2012 and is now in the Cold War Gallery?

Yes, the Space Shuttle Exhibit featuring NASA's first Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT-1) opened to the public on Feb. 26, 2014. The exhibit, currently located in the Cold War Gallery, allows visitors to experience a full-size representation of a NASA space shuttle payload bay, which displays a Teal Ruby satellite, and to look in the flight deck and mid-deck levels of the CCT. A 60-seat dedicated educational area or science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Learning Node and two interactive space shuttle landing simulators are located near the exhibit. A space shuttle orientation video is available for viewing in the STEM Learning Node when it is not in use for other scheduled programs. The simulators, which allow visitors to test their skill at landing a space shuttle orbiter, are representative of a space shuttle commander's and pilot's stations, and feature a reproduction of the forward portion of the space shuttle flight deck with internal cockpit dimensions that replicate its actual size. The Space Shuttle Exhibit, STEM Learning Node and simulators will move to the fourth building after the building is completed.

Click here for more information on the Space Shuttle Exhibit featuring the CCT.

(17) What kinds of educational programming will you be able to conduct in the fourth building?

Educating the public about the Air Force story and inspiring the nation's youth are primary missions of the NMUSAF. The NMUSAF has decades of experience in museum educational programming and currently offers a continuum of diverse learning experiences and opportunities free of charge to a full range of on-site and online audiences. NMUSAF education programs cover multiple disciplines, focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as well as social studies, literature and art.

One of the unique features of the fourth building will be the creation of dedicated, interactive spaces for learning in the galleries. STEM Learning Nodes will provide a unique environment for lectures and demonstrations, as well as extensions of the exhibit experience. These "gallery classrooms" will allow museum staff to facilitate new STEM experiences, while guest scientists and engineers from Air Force organizations, the aerospace industry, and area colleges and universities will be invited to share their expertise. When the nodes are not in use for scheduled programs, multimedia presentations will captivate public audiences.

In the Space Gallery, multimedia presentations will introduce students to air and space missions and the men and women responsible for their execution. The Space Shuttle Exhibit and the space program represent avenues for a multidisciplinary approach to the curriculum, principally through emphasis on STEM. These hands-on, participatory programs will allow students and teachers to explore such topics as space science, the atmosphere, speed regimes, force and motion, aerospace vehicle design, aerodynamics, propulsion, thrust, weight, lift, drag, stability and control, orbital mechanics, and thermodynamics.

Programs will meet the recommendations of the National Science Teachers Association position paper on aerospace education and the national academic content guidelines for science, mathematics, and world history.

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