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The Air Force Museum Foundation funds world’s largest military aviation museum building addition

  • Published
  • By Mona Vollmer
  • Air Force Museum Foundation
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force announced today that it is set to expand its legacy with a new 224,000 square foot building to be constructed by Turner Construction Co. of Washington, D.C. for the amount of $35.426 million, which is being privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization chartered to assist in the development and expansion of the museum's facilities.

The new climate-controlled building will house four major elements of the Air Force story: Presidential Aircraft Gallery, Research and Development Gallery, a new Space Gallery, and the Global Reach Gallery. In addition, the new building will provide dedicated educational areas for programs based in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

"This huge achievement is the work of many hands, and I'm tremendously proud of everyone who put their hearts, minds, time, and energy into getting results," commented Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Richard V. Reynolds, chairman of the Foundation's Board of Managers. "Since our fundraising began in late 2008, the economic climate has been extremely tough, and competition for philanthropy particularly fierce. It's enormously gratifying to know that our efforts have paid off."

In addition to the $1 million already gifted to the Air Force for pre-construction costs, the foundation has over $38 million available to cover fourth building construction and administration costs.

The foundation received large gifts from major national aerospace firms Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce North America, and Northrop Grumman. Other corporate donors include Ohio CAT, Fifth Third Bank, ATK, Stowers Machinery Corporation, and Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio. Large private donations were also received from The Berry Family Foundation, The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, and individuals such as Cy A. Pierquet.

"We send our heartfelt thanks to our generous donors for their stalwart support -- from the foundation's individual "Friends of the Museum" who have responded to our repeated calls for help and year-end appeals, to the major corporations, state and local businesses, foundations, and others who stepped up to build this. They're the ones that made the fourth building possible. We are successful because of their belief in the critical importance of connecting people to their United States Air Force, and in the pressing need to inspire future generations to service and STEM careers," said Reynolds.

Fundraising will not end with the beginning of construction slated for late spring 2014. The Air Force Museum Foundation will continue the Expanding the Legacy campaign to raise funds to meet the $46 million campaign goal and to finance additional building options as desired by the Air Force. Since its inception, the foundation has contributed more than $85.6 million for Museum construction, expansion, and facility upgrades. Contributions consist of business revenue from the Museum Gift Shop, Giant Screen 3D Theatre, Valkyrie and Refueling Cafés, membership program, Legacy Data Plate sales, simulator rides; direct donations from corporations, foundations, individual gifts, and planned giving; and investment income.

"We will continue to accrue revenue from our businesses, investment income, and dedicated fundraising for the fourth building to meet the goal. We're not finished until we have the building completed with all the options," added Reynolds. "We're extremely proud to be partners with our donors, the museum visitors and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force as we move forward with this step towards a new building; it's absolutely fantastic news."

The Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc. was established in 1960 as a philanthropic, nonprofit organization to assist the Air Force in the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and to undertake and advance programs and activities supporting the Museum. For more information on the Air Force Museum Foundation, visit www.airforcemuseum.com.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the service's national institution for preserving and presenting the Air Force story from the beginning of military flight to today's war on terrorism. It is free to the public and features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year more than one million visitors from around the world visit the museum. For more information visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.