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Director's Update: Spring 2011

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John L. Hudson, Director
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Lt. Gen. John L. "Jack" Hudson, USAF (Ret.), became director of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on December 16, 2010. He comes to the museum after a distinguished career that began after his graduation from the Air Force Academy in 1973. Prior to joining the museum, Hudson served as commander of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB before his retirement in October 2009. He also held assignments as program executive officer and program director, Joint Strike Fighter Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; and assistant deputy under secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs.

As director, Hudson manages the museum's 17-acre campus that includes nearly one million square feet of public exhibit space with more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of historical artifacts on display. He is responsible for more than 122,000 artifacts in the National Collection both at the museum and on loan to military and civilian sites all over the world. He provides technical and professional guidance to the U.S. Air Force Heritage Program, which includes 12 field museums and 260 domestic and international heritage sites. Additionally, he assists in ensuring accountability for artifacts on loan to more than 470 civilian museums, cities, municipalities and veterans' organizations throughout the world.

Hudson is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours, many of which were spent as a test pilot, notably in the A-10, A-7 and T-38 aircraft.

Knowing that many of our members would be interested in getting to know the new director, we posed a few questions about his new job.

How do you feel about your appointment as the director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force?

It is an honor to be selected as the next museum director and to have the opportunity to help move the museum forward on the foundation that the museum team has built. I hope to help bring the museum to even greater heights, with plans for growth of museum exhibit space, potential for enhanced educational programs, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

What in your past experience has most prepared you for your current position?

Serving as deputy director in 2010, I spent 12 months getting to know the museum staff, the volunteers, our cleaning contractors and other stakeholders at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Staff. I also visited many of the aviation-related sites in the local area, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in D.C. and other museums. In many ways, my 36 years of active duty in our USAF has proven to be great preparation for working here at the museum.

What is your overall vision for the museum in the coming years? What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as director?

My top priorities include constructing the fourth building and incorporating more of today's emerging technology to stay relevant with today's visitors both at the museum and online.

What projects do you see you and your staff tackling in the near future?

By the end of 2011, we plan to complete the Phase I and II renovations to our Southeast Asia War Gallery. We intend to complete our new strategic plan. We plan to have superb events here on the grounds, including the Tattoo, Marathon, Jet World Masters, World War I fly-in and more. We are hosting two large conferences: the World-Wide Historians' Conference and the Smithsonian's Mutual Concerns Conference. We will expand our educational, and in particular our STEM, outreach.

Is there anything else you would like to let our members know?

Working at the museum is a great way to serve in our Air Force and serve our country. It is indeed a great honor to host veterans' reunion groups, school bus loads of children and visitors from all over. It is crucial to tell our Air Force story to our visitors and to accomplish education outreach to so many. We certainly appreciate the support our Friends members provide to the museum!

Note: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of Friends Journal. To receive the Journal and other benefits, become a member of the Air Force Museum Foundation.