PIMA AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM 6000 East Valencia Road Tucson, Arizona 85706 - USA Tel: (602) 574-0462 / 0646 (area code changes to 520 on March 19,1995) Fax: (602) 574-9238
Conceived in the interest of preserving tangible artifacts of our aviation history for the recreational welfare and education of our present and future generations.
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The museum enjoys an international reputation as one of the best anywhere. For aviation enthusiasts of all ages, PASM brings history to life.
Pima Air Museum had the humblest of beginnings. The museum was conceived in 1966 and a year later the Tucson Air Museum Foundation was incorporated as an educational non-profit organization responsible for the operation of the museum. Ten years later, on May 8, 1976, the museum opened to the public as an official Bicentennial event. The tremendous effort involved in opening the museum was put forth solely by volunteers. Picture if you will, 75 aircraft in a bare desert setting with the only structure on the grounds being a small tin shack used to sell tickets. Few tickets were sold during the first few months of operation but, today, about 160,000 visitors a year tour the museum.
The museum receives no government funds and is supported solely by gate admissions, gift shop sales, memberships and donations. However, the museum admits all school groups grade 12 and below, at no
charge. Educational packets and docent tours for the school groups are provided to make the students' visit a rewarding one. Last year, over 6000 school age children visited the museum. PASM is continually enhancing its educational programs.
As you enter Hangar #1 after leaving the ticket counter, you move toward an exact replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer, the aircraft with which the Wright Brothers made history. Early aircraft such as the Waco RNF, Fleet Model 2 and the Focke-Wulf Fw-44J Stieglitz are also located in Hangar #1. Exhibits such as "Women in Aviation," "Blacks in Aviation" and a "hands-on" area are popular with those of all ages and are just a few of the exhibits located in this hangar. Out the north door of this building can be seen General Eisenhower's "Columbine" and the DC-6 used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. The DC-6 is open for guided tours.
About 100 feet north of the DC-6 is the Space Gallery and Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame building. In 1991, the Foundation membership voted to change the museum's name to the Pima Air & Space Museum. The Space Gallery features a full-scale mock-up of the X-15, the rocket-powered aircraft that broke the envelope of space.
In 1985, then Governor Bruce Babbitt, Pima County and the City of Tucson each issued a proclamation naming the museum as the location of the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame. To date, a total of 21 individuals have been inducted. Among the 21 are former Senator Barry Goldwater and astronaut Frank Borman.
Leaving the Space Gallery and walking southwest past the SR-71 Blackbird, the world's fastest jet aircraft, you arrive at Hangar #3. This hangar houses the B-24 Liberator bomber, one of about 12 known to exist,
the B-25, A-26, TG-6 and other World War II-era aircraft. A new display, "World War II Combat Gliders" was dedicated on the 50th anniversary of D-Day June 6, 1994. Immediately south of this building is Hangar #4 which houses the B-29 and C-46 aircraft, among others, and which should open in September of 1994. A formal dedication will be held in October during a reunion of the 330th Bomb Group to which this B-29 was assigned during World War II.
The 390th Memorial Museum is located in the center of the grounds and houses the B-17. Its exhibits detail the unit's World War II operations in the European Theater while assigned to the 8th Air Force. It is a museum within a museum.
With about 65 acres of display area, comfortable shoes are a must. A walk through the museum takes about three hours but one could easily spend all day. Plans are in the works to start a tram operation near the end of August '94.
The Pima Air & Space Museum is located at 6000 E. Valencia Road and is open every day except Christmas day from 9 am. to 5 pm. with the last admittance at 4 pm. Admission charges are: Adults $5.00, Seniors/Military $4.00, Juniors 10-17 $3.00 and children 9 and under are free.
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