Name change heralds new era at Air Force's national museum
By Rob Bardua, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
/ Published September 20, 2006
DAYTON, Ohio -- A dramatic era of change and growth continues to unfold at the Air Force's national museum with the institution launching a formal name change.
The United States Air Force Museum has ceased to be, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force has been born.
The institution announced the name change to the public during a ceremony Oct. 14. Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff, delivered the keynote address with Gen. Gregory Martin, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, and Maj. Gen. (Ret) Charles D. Metcalf, museum director, also speaking.
"The Air Force museum is a national treasure," said General Jumper. "The museum tells the story of our proud legacy and preserves our unique heritage so that all can learn about the history, mission and capabilities of America's Air Force."
The museum's new name underscores its status as the official trustee of the Air Force story, confirms the museum's national character and world-class collection, and signals its rapidly growing facilities and global visibility.
"We have always been the Air Force's national museum, but the Air Force saw this name change as a necessary step to raise the institution to its rightful place," said Museum Director Maj. Gen. (Ret) Charles D. Metcalf. "This new name places the museum at a level of its peers, such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Naval Aviation and the planned National Museum of the U.S. Army."
The name change comes at a historically and strategically pivotal time of growth for the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum, which encompasses more than 300 aircraft and 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Recent additions to the museum include a 200,000 square-foot Eugene W. Kettering Building housing a Cold War Gallery and a 12,500 square-foot Missile and Space Gallery.
The Missile and Space Gallery will house the museum's unique collection of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, satellite launch vehicles and other elements of the institution's space collection.
Future expansion phases include a Presidential Interpretive Center to house the museum's presidential aircraft collection, a space gallery, collection management facility, education center, more parking and other facility enhancements.
In recent years, the museum has forged a reputation as a popular venue for major events, including a Fourth of July visit by President George W. Bush in 2003, an artifact presentation ceremony involving aircrews from Operation Iraqi Freedom, the unveiling of the Ohio quarter, a Medal of Honor presentation ceremony, a Centennial of Flight stamp unveiling and a rollout of a B-2 stealth bomber. Outdoor events have included those featuring hot air balloons, blimps, and World War I-era and radio-controlled aircraft.
National and global media coverage of the museum has intensified during this time. Major outlets visiting or covering the museum recently included the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, the Associated Press, C-SPAN, the History Channel and the BBC, among others.
"The combination of our growing collection, events, and expansion has significantly raised the profile of this institution," said General Metcalf. "Last year, we attracted nearly 1.4 million visitors. This name change further positions us to continue to expand awareness of the museum, and the Air Force, both nationally and globally."
NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, contact the National Museum of the United States Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-4704, ext. 330.