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(01) Why is the museum planning to build additional galleries?

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 math (STEM) learning opportunities for America's youth. The NMUSAF'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 proposed expansion.

(02) 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. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, 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 which is expected to begin in early summer 2014.

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

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

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

Current plans call for construction to begin in early summer 2014 and be completed in the late summer 2015. The museum will then begin populating the building that fall. A public opening is anticipated in 2016.

(05) 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 National Museum of the United States Air Force 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. Click here to visit the Air Force Museum Foundation website.

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

Further options include a south and west tow road loop, theatrical lighting and cafe. 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 Expand the Legacy Campaign for the fourth building to meet its $46 million goal.

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

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an initiative of the U.S. Green Building Council or 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.

(08) What exhibits 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 and 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 Air Force Base 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 President Kennedy, also known as SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000 which carried his body back to Washington, D.C. from Dallas after his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, and served as the location where President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the new president.

The Research and Development Gallery will also to be relocated from the base and offer 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 math (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. As a major exhibit component of that gallery, visitors will be able to walk onto a full-size representation of a NASA space shuttle payload bay and look inside the CCT-1 cockpit and mid-deck areas. Conceptual plans call for the gallery to also include a Titan IV space launch vehicle, 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.

The museum also plans to explore several new themes in the fourth building such as aerospace vehicle design, propulsion, payload capacity, human factors, communication, range, speed, and operating environment. The museum will integrate these exhibits with educational programs, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Artists' renderings of the fourth building are available on the Expansion page.

(09) Are there any aircraft currently on display 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. It has yet to be determined exactly which aircraft and aerospace vehicles will be included in the galleries.

(10) What will happen to presidential and/or research and development aircraft currently on display 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.

(11) 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.

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

The Space Shuttle Exhibit featuring the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) opened in February 2014 in the Cold War Gallery and allows visitors to experience the size and shape of an actual space shuttle orbiter by entering the payload bay and looking into the flight deck and mid-deck levels. Future plans call for the museum to continue populating the exhibit with additional artifacts such as space suits and provide interpretive information about topics such as astronauts, space science, living in space, and the Air Force's role in space. Eventually, the exhibit will be moved to a new Space Gallery in the museum's fourth building.

Next to the Space Shuttle Exhibit is a 60-seat dedicated educational area or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Learning Node.

Click here to view a photo of the Space Shuttle Exhibit and STEM Learning Node.

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

The museum is planning to develop new exhibits with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. These include exhibits that will showcase Air Force technologies with many unique characteristics in design, propulsion, payload capacity, human factors, communication, range, speed and operating environment.

One of the unique features of the fourth building will be the creation of dedicated, interactive spaces for learning in the galleries. Three "Learning Nodes" will provide a unique environment for lectures and demonstrations, as well as extensions of the exhibit experience. These 60-seat "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. Multimedia presentations will introduce students to air and space missions and the men and women responsible for their execution. When the nodes are not in use for scheduled programs, multimedia presentations will captivate public audiences.

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