Often summer can be looked at as a time of year to stretch one’s legs and relax. At the National Museum of World War II Aviation, summer is the time of year to stretch one’s wings and fly.
Recognized by Congress in 2017 as a very special place, the National Museum of World War II Aviation became America’s National Museum of World War II Aviation - the only one of its kind.
“Can’t say enough good things,” said Kim Jones. “The tours are fascinating and well organized. It’s definitely worth a stop. The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable. They have an acute plane that is also a simulator. It’s so much fun for kids and adults alike.”
Full fleet on hand
One of the museum’s primary focuses is education. It is home to a large selection of aircraft, most of which have been fully restored to flying condition including five bomber/attack aircraft and seven fighter/pursuit aircraft. The museum even boasts the B-25 bomber used in the film “Pearl Harbor.”
The museum’s aircraft are displayed along with a selection of aircraft on loan from private collections around the country. Their purpose is to tell the full story behind American advancements in aviation technology during the war.
That story is one of the highlights of the museum, according to patrons who have taken a docent-guided tour.
“I reluctantly agreed to accompany my husband to the museum,” said Woodbury, Tennessee resident Regina Hill. “I was absolutely enthralled by the docents’ enthusiasm about the museum. It was very interesting and educational. The personal stories brought the history to life.”
Aside from the aircraft collection, which is rotated throughout the year for space and maintenance purposes, the museum also boasts a hearty collection of over 3,000 artifacts and historical documents from one of the most crucial and recognizable periods of American history.
For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the museum is also home to several fully-restored and operational vehicles that were used by US forces and their allies during the war.
STEM Education Program
The National Museum of World War II Aviation makes it no secret that they are very focused on introducing future generations to the type of technological advances that allowed the U.S. air fleet to be one of the most powerful in the world, both in WWII and after the war.
According to the museum’s description of the k-12 STEM program, the museum “reaches beyond the walls of the museum and into the classroom where teachers are given the resources they need to convey STEM concepts within the historical context of World War II.
“The effectiveness of this unique approach to STEM education is well documented and the reactions from both students and teacher alike have been overwhelmingly positive. Program results and feedback are carefully tracked throughout the year. This highly successful program served more than 3,600 students last year at no cost to students or their schools.”
For those not taking part in the STEM experience, there is still a lot of learning to be done through the guided tours, where visitors consistently offer high praise for their tour guides.
“The tour guide was very knowledgeable and interesting,” said Carol Tindell from Seattle. “He did an excellent job explaining what led to World War II. He had some great stories connected to most every plane he showed us. As an added bonus, he took us out back then the Canadian Snowbirds did an aerial display in honor of NORAD’s 100th Anniversary.”
The museum entrance is located at 755 Aviation Way in Colorado Springs. The museum expands its public tour schedule starting June 1 to include Fridays on its current schedule of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Four hours and to book a tour visit www.worldwariiaviation.org.