100 years: Air Force Museum to celebrate centennial with year of events

This year, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force celebrates 100 years as the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum.

The community has a year full of events to expect as the museum marks its centennial of educating visitors about America’s military aviation force.

The museum traces its origin to a small engine study lab at McCook Field just north of downtown Dayton to what it is today — more than 19 indoor acres housing more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles, and thousands of artifacts at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the heart of Air Force acquisition and research efforts.

“Celebrating 100 years is a significant milestone in the history of any museum,” museum historian Doug Lantry said. “The growth we have experienced over the last century is directly attributed to the Air Force’s wise commitment to preserving its heritage and the tremendous support we receive from our local, national and international communities. It’s going to be an exciting year as we celebrate in style with events and exhibits that will appeal to the whole family.”

Here is a glimpse of what can be expected this year. Details can be found museum’s website at https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/.


  • “Fitness Under the Wings” A fitness experience every Saturday in January. Participants can take a free yoga class — space will be limited — or get their steps in through aviation history. Check the museum website for registration details.
  • Micro Drone Races, Feb. 24 to 26 Cheer on fast-flying micro machine as pilots maneuver their drones over, under, around and through aircraft displays to compete during the Fourth Annual Micro Drone Races.
  • Kite Week, March: The public will be invited to bring kites to the front lawn of the museum during one week in March.
  • Easter Egg Hunt, April 8 Bring the family to hunt for Easter eggs and take part in other family-friendly activities.

  • Troops and Treats, Oct. 28 Ghosts and goblins of all ages are encouraged to dress in their favorite costume and come to the museum for a day of trick-or-treating, games, and fun.


  • Two Special Exhibits coming to the fourth building exhibit space, “Survival: The Exhibition” debuts Feb. 18 to May 7, and “Discover Steampunk” arrives September 24 to Dec. 10. These exhibitions are created and produced by Imagine Exhibitions Inc.
  • Centennial Exhibit opens May 20 “The museum has aged well over the last 100 years, and this new exhibit, located in the Cold War Gallery, will give visitors a glimpse into our history and the people that make it all possible,” the museum said.
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) This exhibit highlighting combat search and rescue missions will be located in the Southeast Asia Gallery later in 2023.

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