The Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins celebrated its 35 year anniversary this November.
A gala event was hosted by the Museum of Aviation Foundation to celebrate the anniversary on Nov. 9, with many prominent guests in attendance, including David Perdue, a Georgia senator and the event’s keynote speaker.
“We were just really celebrating 35 years of inspiring and educating and teaching all about the heritage and foundations of many people who are not only from here but from all over,” Lacey Meador, the museum’s marketing and public relations specialist, said.
The museum was opened to the public in November 1984 with the support of Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. The Museum of Aviation Foundation is credited with raising money to keep the Museum open and operating education programs, according to the Museum’s website. They also host a variety of events throughout the year.
Visitors can expect to see a variety of different aircraft alongside historical exhibits and interactive displays, including the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. The exhibitions preserve national heritage and educate visitors, Meador said. Admission to the museum is free.
“We have grown tremendously. We started off as one building with a couple of airplanes outside. Now, we have four large buildings and we have over 85 aircraft and missiles,” Meador said. “We try to make it a place for people of all ages, of all backgrounds can come and get something from it.”
The National STEM Academy is housed in the museum. The program is intended “to reach out to students and teachers and provide extra, outside of the classroom, hands-on learning experiences,” Meador said. Students who attend the program have the opportunity to participate in activities that teach them about space, innovation and technology.
“We have schools from all over the state of Georgia that come for the programs here. We are the only organization in the state of Georgia that is accredited by NASA,” said Meador.
Exhibits and programs hosted by the museum aim to spotlight space exploration and its history alongside United States Air Force heritage.
The Museum had 630,000 visitors this past year and over 52,000 students and teachers who participated in the National STEM Academy. Meader said these are the largest visitation numbers the museum has experienced in the 35 years it has been open.
“We’re really focusing in on educating young minds, and inspiring them to become future leaders in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics world because we need that,” Meador said. “So that’s kind of our legacy, is to continue growing those young minds and keeping that love for aviation going because it’s not going to die out. It’s just going to keep advancing, so we want to do as much as we can to lend a part in helping that future generation grow.”