Airline Memorabilia Collection Dates To 1920s
The administrators of the National
Museum of Commercial Aviation in the Atlanta suburb of Forest Park,
GA have big plans for expansion, and high hopes for
congressional designation as a national museum within a year.
The museum's executive director, Grant Wainscott, says he wants
to raise $8 million and break ground in 18 months at a new 16,000
to 20,000 square-foot learning center, ideally situated next to
Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Aware of the difficulties of raising funds during a recession,
Wainscott said, "We're just really trying to find creative
solutions to ride out a difficult economic time."
In a state with two major aviation museums and another in the
works - the Warner-Robins Museum of Aviation, the Mighty Eighth Air
Force Museum in Savannah, and a planned military museum near
Lockheed Martin's facility in Marietta - the National Museum of
Commercial Aviation occupies a unique niche by specializing in the
history of commercial airlines.
"It creates an aviation corridor for the state. Aviation helped
build this state," Wainscott said. The Commercial Aviation museum
pays tribute to the pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, baggage
handlers, and air traffic controllers who each contributed in their
Museum Chairman Chuck Maire described the museum as "a place
where someone can come in and take a walk down memory lane or get
inspired to join the industry."
Presently occupying a 3,800 square-foot space in a Forest Park
strip mall, the museum features everything from vintage uniforms,
pins, serving ware, and toys to books and research material that
dates back to the 1920s.
The recent donation of a Southern Airways 404 flight simulator
from California has become the museum's first interactive display,
the Altanta Journal-Constitution said.
But Maire explained it's not easy for the museum to get
donations from airlines. "Most airlines don't need tax write-offs
because they don't make any money," Maire said.