Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Monday, February 29, 2016

Revitalization of St. Louis Area Museums Is Sign of Good Things to Come

By Carmelo Turdo
Several museums and cultural centers in the St. Louis area are receiving renewed attention and displaying high standards of excellence to their current and future visitors and investors.  Of the many museums in the St. Louis and Metro East IL area, these are only a few examples of those with aviation exhibits that we found to be both of historic value and progressive development.    

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum 

The Soldiers Memorial Military Museum is one of the great historic buildings in downtown St. Louis.  The building and grounds (including the nearby Memorial Plaza) were constructed as part of the Depression-Era Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works Project No. 5098 as a tribute to the last armed conflict, World War I.  Construction began in 1935 and the museum was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt on October 14, 1936.  It officially opened to the public May 30, 1938.  The museum is closed from today forward to 2018 for significant renovations that will ensure that this historic facility will remain a St. Louis treasure for generations to come.  Until it reopens, we can enjoy these views of this magnificent museum (including the Norden bombsight):

James S. McDonnell Planetarium, St. Louis Science Center

The James S. McDonnell Planetarium of the St. Louis Science Center has been a St. Louis institution since it opened May 30, 1963 in Forest Park (later named for McDonnell Aircraft Corporation Founder James S. McDonnell in 1964).  Part of the St. Louis Science Center since 1985, the planetarium benefits from the management and expertise of the professional staff.  Currently, a special exhibit featuring the aerospace history of St. Louis, called "Liftoff," includes full-size St. Louis-made McDonnell Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, Mercury Astronaut Gordon Cooper's space suit, an award given to McDonnell Douglas aerospace engineering pioneers, and a full-size Mars rover.  Fittingly. standing guard outside the lobby is a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornet once used by the famed U.S. Navy Blue Angels.


The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum marks its eleventh year at its current location in historic 1929 Curtiss-Wright Hangar at St. Louis Downtown Airport in nearby Cahokia, IL.  The museum, begun in 1982 as the St. Louis Aviation Museum by McDonnell Douglas employees and retirees at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, MO, currently maintains a collection of exhibits and aircraft that well represent the contributions of St. Louis aviation and aerospace since the 1920s.  Rare items on display include Mercury and Gemini space suits, two working Link Trainers from the 1940s-50s, a Lockheed Jetstar executive jet once owned by Howard Hughes and a Meyers OTW trainer (number 50 out of 102 made).  Several aircraft restoration projects are planned, and the museum is  in search of a sponsor for the future restoration of the historic hangar.



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