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Regional News

Aviation Museum Could Find Home at Felts Field

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Paige Browning
/
Spokane Public Radio

Hopes are high that an agreement can be reached soon that will lead to a home for a Spokane Military and Aviation Museum. The work has gone by many different names over the past 14 years, but efforts have been progressing to find a permanent home for a military and aviation collection that used to be housed at Fairchild Air Force Base.

In the late 1990’s the Air Force dictated that items not related to current mission at bases had to go, and so the collection of items was placed in the basement of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. Since then, efforts to find a permanent home have continued. Now under the guise of the Honor Point Military and Aerospace Museum, organizers say they are in negotiations with a company that leases one of the hangers at Felts Field.

Honor Point President Toby Hatley says the building has the perfect historical background to be a future museum.

Hatley: “What it is is the original NW airlines hanger built in 1952.And then it went to Spokane international before they disappeared.”

Hatley says they may know the results of those negotiations with the hanger lessee soon. The plan then is to approach Felts management to see if they can buy the building. If that plan materializes, fundraising to remodel the building would begin in earnest.

Hatley says the current artifacts in the MAC basement are all over the map, from doughboy uniforms to classic enlistment posters. Many of the items will have to gone through to see what is relevant to having some sort of Spokane connection. One interesting item they have is a cockpit of a B-52 bomber. He says “In 1992 as part of the Salt two treaty that particular plane is being disassembled and chopped up, as part of the disarmament treaty, so we have that it will be on display, it is a big cockpit.”

Hatley says Spokane’s history as the home to a Strategic Air Command base during the cold war, as well as the Atlas and Nike Missile sites in the region are a story that can be told, as well as the origins of the Fairchild base, and the connection to the community.

Hatley: “In the late 30’s when the government said it wanted to put another military base in the state of Washington, the city leaders held a fundraiser, and in less than a week, raised enough to buy several thousand acres of property out on the west plains. They then gave that property to the federal government, free and clear. That property today is what we call Fairchild Air Force Base.”

You can find put more about plans for the future museum online at Honorpoint.org.

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