(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 began in mid-July 2014. 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 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 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) When did construction begin, and when will the building be open to the public?Construction began by the Columbus office of Turner Construction Co. on July 22, 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 spring 2016.
(05) 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.
(06) With the fourth building, the museum will be quite large. Is there a plan to accommodate visitors with mobility problems?The fourth building will include charging stations for electric carts, and the museum is developing options that will assist visitors who have mobility concerns.
(07) 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.
Total project costs will be determined once the contract is completed. The base contract for the building is $35.4 million. However, the opportunity to implement additional options (west tow path and theatrical lighting) and requirements (west tow path extension, Titan 4B stand and educational requirements to include STEM Learning Nodes and WiFi) will be determined by the amount of funds available.
(08) The museum has mentioned other options. What are these options?Additional options include the west tow path and theatrical lighting. Other fourth building requirements include a Titan 4B stand, west tow path extension and educational requirements to include STEM Learning Nodes and WiFi. The opportunity to implement any of these requirements 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.
(10) 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 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.
(11) 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 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 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 eight presidents, also known as SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000.
The Research & Development Gallery will also 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 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 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Learning Node and two interactive space shuttle landing simulators. Current plans call for the gallery to include a Titan 4B 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.
(12) 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.
(13) 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.
(14) How can I see aircraft that remain in storage?Some aircraft located in the restoration facility are available for view during the museum's Behind the Scenes Tours. Aircraft placed in other storage facilities are unavailable to the public.
(15) 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.
(16) Will items currently not on display go into the new building?The museum has thousands of items in storage, and only about 7% of the artifacts that are in the collection here on the museum's main campus are on display. The Titan 4B rocket is one example of an artifact in storage that is planned to go on display in the fourth building.
(17) What is the Titan 4B stand and why is it necessary?The Titan 4B rocket is 204 feet tall and weighs 96 tons. In order to display the rocket in-tact horizontally in a safe and secure manner, a robust steel structure stand will be developed to raise it 10 feet from the floor of the fourth building. By raising the Titan 4B 10 feet into the air, the museum will be able to allow visitors to have three vantage points to view the rocket from -- upper mezzanine level, gallery floor and underneath. The museum will also able to utilize 6,000 square feet of space below the rocket to interpret the Air Force story in space with engaging exhibits.
(18) 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.
(19) 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.