IWM Duxford’s transformed American Air Museum will open to the public on Saturday 19 March after a major redevelopment.
The newly-transformed American Air Museum will explore the story of Anglo-American collaboration in twentieth and twenty-first century conflict, as seen through the eyes of the people linked with the aircraft and objects on display.
From Private to President, the American Air Museum tells the personal stories of people whose lives have shaped or been shaped by their experiences of conflict. It focuses on the key role played by American air power, in conflicts from 1918 to the present day, with dramatic displays of historic and contemporary aircraft.
The American Air Museum will be home to 850 objects, including equipment, uniforms, keepsakes and photographs. Many of these have never been seen by the public before.
Highlights at the newly-transformed American Air Museum will include:
- An F-111 aircraft which was operational in the Gulf War. The aircraft is accompanied by formerBBC correspondent Kate Adie’s experiences of reporting on the F-111 strikes in Libya and CNN cameraman Dave Rust’s testimony on the Bosnia War.
- An A-10 aircraft, used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alongside the A-10, visitors will meet a man who won one of America’s highest gallantry awards, and discover how heroism nearly cost him his life.
- The immense B-52 Stratofortress, the aircraft that embodied the Cold War, alongside the recollections of Jack Revelle, a bomb disposal officer who dealt with the Goldsboro incident, where a B-52 armed with nuclear weapons crashed in North Carolina in 1961.
- The C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft, a veteran of D-Day, which dropped troops and supplies into occupied Europe and the remarkable story of ‘Duke’ Boswell, who parachuted from a C-47 Skytrain into action on 6 June 1944.
- The P-47 Thunderbolt, which served with the Ninth Air Force, attacking targets on the front line after D-Day, together with the story of Virginia Irwin, a pioneering journalist who was also attached to the Ninth Air Force.
- The impressive B-24 Liberator aircraft, accompanied by a crane, saved by IWM from Willow Run, the gigantic Ford plant in America, and a newly-conserved Cletrac tractor and bomb trailer, which can be seen on display for the first time.
- The cutting-edge SR-71 Blackbird and the personal experiences of Colonel Richard Graham, showing how pilots prepared for such technologically-advanced missions.
- The newly-displayed Clarkair Bulldozer, representing the role of African-American servicemen who constructed the air bases in Britain for the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War.
- The UH-1H Iroquois ‘Huey’ helicopter, an iconic symbol of the Vietnam War.
- Compelling new personal stories of 85 people whose lives were changed by war, told through film interviews and personal objects.
Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM says: “The transformed American Air Museum will tell the story of the relationship between Britain and America in very human terms. Personal stories come to the fore, vividly demonstrating the consequences of war in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.”
The £3 million transformation has been made possible with the support of the Board of Trustees of the American Air Museum in Britain and a number of funders, sponsors, trusts, foundations and individual donations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Butterwick Trust, Mr Ross Perot, Jr., Mr and Mrs John F Bookout, Jr., DCMS/Wolfson Museums & Galleries Improvement Fund, Estate of Harry Fagen, Federal Express Corporation, Hathaway Family Foundation, Northrup Grumman Corporation, Dale Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez, Estate of Ltc Donald H Standiford (Ret), Frederick and Barbara Clark Telling.