Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Museum Divisions

Performing the mission of the National Museum of the United States Air Force® is a complex undertaking. It requires expertise across a broad range of disciplines. Various museum divisions with diverse responsibilities help the museum operate smoothly, often combining efforts to support activities such as aircraft rollouts, exhibit openings and special events. Divisions include:

Collection Management
Staff members in the Collection Management Division steward the museum system's considerable aircraft and artifact collection, ensuring accountability for all U.S. Air Force historical property and providing exhibit support. The division manages a massive collection of more than 135,000 items, including over 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles, plus thousands of historical artifacts on display at the museum. In addition, the division provides technical and professional guidance to the U.S. Air Force Heritage Program (USAFHP), which includes 12 field museums and 289 domestic and international heritage sites. It also ensures accountability for artifacts on loan to over 113 civilian museums throughout the world.

The Air Force story is one animated by magnificent aircraft, but granted true vitality through the honor, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who have forged that story through the years. It is their story the museum tells, particularly through imaginative exhibit design. Bringing the historical moment to life is the work of the Exhibits Division. The staff designs and constructs exhibits that capture the essence of Air Force men and women and bring history to life for museum visitors. Using a dynamic approach to exhibit design that incorporates mannequins, sound effects, theatrical lighting, audio-visual products, interactive touch-screens and artifacts, exhibit specialists construct scenes around the aircraft that humanize the stories, arousing curiosity and drawing viewers into the events and era portrayed.

Preserving the Air Force's proud legacy, the Restoration Division restores aerospace vehicles to historically accurate and visually striking levels. Division members are well versed in a variety of skills, ranging from machine and woodworking expertise to precision craftsmanship in sheet metal and painting. Their knowledge of aircraft spans years of technology -- from World War I fabric-covered aircraft to the elite fighters of today's Air Force. Restoration workers maintain the museum's vast aircraft collection, move aircraft into exhibit position and work hand-in-hand with the Exhibits and Research Divisions and museum management on ever-changing gallery displays. The Restoration Division relies heavily on a dedicated, talented cadre of volunteers in accomplishing its mission.

The Education Division provides a multi-disciplinary educational program that offers learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as social studies, literature and art, for pre-kindergarten children through senior adults. The division has more than 160,000 contacts each year with students, teachers, young people, families and adults through 1,150 programs. These multi-disciplinary "hands-on, minds-on" programs allow learners at all levels to explore military aviation history and aerospace concepts. The school and youth programs are designed to inspire tomorrow's Airmen, pilots, engineers, scientists and air power advocates, while the programs for adults offer informal and in-depth learning experiences through tours and classes. A vital part of the Education Division is the museum's Volunteer Resources Program. This essential program provides a multi-million dollar asset in terms of human resources to the USAF. Volunteers staff the exhibit galleries and buildings, providing visitor services and additional security for the museum collection. They also provide outstanding support services to many other divisions within the museum.

Serving on multiple fronts, the Research Division ensures that timely, relevant and accurate Air Force historical information is presented to the public through a variety of means. The division manages the museum's ever-expanding document and imagery collection, researches and writes exhibit text, and provides historical guidance for exhibit development, aircraft restoration, staff projects and public and media queries. Staff members assist in many other ways, leading tours, delivering talks to local and national audiences, and participating in media interviews, among other activities.

Plans and Programs
The Plans and Programs Division ensures display aircraft are available to tell the Air Force story at the museum and other locations. The division performs a variety of roles to make Air Force aircraft available for display to a broad audience and to exercise sound stewardship over the service's aircraft collection. Activities include acquiring aircraft for display, managing an exchange program, and ensuring accountability for artifacts on loan to over 350 cities, municipalities and veterans' organizations throughout the world.

The Operations Division manages the museum's more than one million square feet of facilities and grounds and helps ensure the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers and the security of the historical collection. Division staff members provide vital logistical and security support to museum events and are responsible for working with the Air Force Museum Foundation on museum expansion efforts.

Public Affairs
Seeking to expand museum visibility regionally, nationally and globally, the Public Affairs Division promotes the institution's activities, initiatives and achievements to the public through tourism agencies, news media, community groups and historical organizations. The division builds awareness of the museum and America's Air Force through its development of a variety of promotional materials, advertising and marketing initiatives, media interface and management of the museum's website and social media networks.

Special Events
Each year, the Special Events Division plans and executes hundreds of events that help convey the Air Force story and the military aviation spirit. Indoor and outdoor events range from flying events and Air Force Band of Flight concerts to ceremonies and guest lecturers. Special events staff support aircraft rollouts, exhibit openings, reunion groups and memorial dedications. Prominent recurring major events include the biennial World War I Dawn Patrol Rendezvous and the Giant Scale Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft Air Show.