Air Force Museum celebrates service’s 75th anniversary

The 75th anniversary of the Department of the Air Force is Sunday, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Forces ready to tell the service’s story.

This weekend, the museum has an array of exhibits that highlight the past, present and future of the Air Force with open aircraft, a 75th Anniversary selfie station, educational activities, trivia, airplane tricycles, coloring pages, a word search station, and more.

ExploreHow Dayton saved what became Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

“The whole weekend is filled with a big slate of activities, events, things to look at, things to do,” said Doug Lantry, museum historian. “It’s a big weekend.”

The museum is also unveiling a new permanent exhibit in the fourth building dedicated to the newest branch of the American armed forces, the U.S. Space Force.

The nation’s newest military service was established Dec. 20, 2019 and organizes, trains, and equips forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space.

Here, you’ll find the pen former President Donald Trump used to sign the new service into being, as well as uniforms, space-related vehicles and rockets, explanations of history, missions and more.

Starting Saturday, visitors can also explore the 5,000-square-foot “Above and Beyond” exhibition, which offers an interactive demonstration of the forces and physics involved in flight.

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Here, museum-goers can can experience flight simulation, immersive theater, touch-table displays and augmented reality exhibits.

“Getting up off the ground, you know there are some forces we have to interact with — lift, weight, thrust, drag,” said Mike Brimmer, chief of the museum’s education division. “With every flying object, including birds and drones or satellites, rockets, airplanes, all have to contend with the same forces of flight. And this exhibit illustrates that.”

Want to design a virtual plane? Here, you can do that.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 15.

The museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Be aware if you visit Saturday that close to 8,000 runners will be on or near museum grounds for the running of four Air Force Marathon races.

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The museum — which itself is readying to celebrate its centennial anniversary next spring — features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space.

The entrance to museum grounds is at gate 28B off Springfield Street in Riverside.

Air Force anniversary

Sunday is the 75th anniversary of the Air Force, which got a lot of its early start here in the Dayton region and continues today at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with many important missions, including research, national security, procurement and development.

Sunday: The Dayton Daily News examines how Wright-Patterson play a pivotal role in the Air Force’s history.

Monday: The story of the Air Force is not just a story of battles won, technology invented, and military bases developed. It’s a story of people. The newspaper profiles six local residents who have served in the Air Force.

Tuesday: Check out our special e-paper edition on the history of Wright-Patterson and its impact on the Air Force.

Wednesday: Join our online community conversation with a panel of military, community and business leaders to discuss how Wright-Patterson Air Force base has shaped our region’s past — and will shape its future.

Sign up for the latest military and Wright-Patterson news in our daily Wright-Patt Today email at

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