HOUSTON – On November 9, 2015, the Lone Star Flight Museum will break ground on a state-of-the-art facility at Ellington Airport. In addition to a collection of award-winning historic aircraft, the 130,000 square-foot museum will feature interactive, educational exhibits focusing on the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts essential to flight while allowing visitors to explore Texas’ rich aviation heritage. The museum is scheduled to open in February 2017 in time to greet Houston visitors for Houston for Super Bowl LI.
“From early gliders to one of the few remaining flyable B-17s the Lone Star Flight Museum has captured an intricate glimpse of aviation history,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “This special museum will be based at Ellington Airport with its special designation as a spaceport and is poised for future expansion. This is a wonderful attraction for visitors from around the region and the country.”
Lone Star is moving from its current location in Galveston as a result of damage suffered during Hurricane Ike. “We have enjoyed our time in Galveston and greatly appreciate the support of the Galveston community,” said Scott Rozzell, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Lone Star Flight Museum. “However we felt it important to protect our collection by moving the museum further inland. We are excited to be a part of all the great things now going on at Ellington.”
Among the highlights of the new facility will be a $1 million Aviation Learning Center and the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame. The Aviation Learning Center, originally developed at the Seattle Museum of Flight, will be replicated for the first time at the new museum.
“The Aviation Learning Center program will be aligned with Texas academic standards, such as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, which will assist teachers in their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) content and project-based curriculum,” said Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, former NASA astronaut, Director of the University of Houston’s STEM Center, and Co-Chair of the Lone Star Flight Museum’s Education Committee with Dr. Rod Paige. “It is also part of our program to provide teachers with professional development credits.”
“The Center will provide a hands-on, interactive learning environment focusing on aircraft aerodynamics and design, climate science as it affects aviation, the air traffic control system, aircraft maintenance and dispatch, and more,” said Dr. Rod Paige, Former United States Secretary of Education and Co-Chair of the Museum’s Education Committee. Students in grades 5-12 will work together to employ these skills to plan and prepare for a flight and then experience that flight in a simulator.
The Texas Aviation Hall of Fame honors the aviation heroes and pioneers of Texas. Previous inductees include President George H. W. Bush (who is also Honorary Chair of the Museum’s capital campaign), Howard Hughes, Bessie Coleman and Debbie Rihn Harvey; World War II aviators Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Ben Love, John Bookout, Tom Landry, the Doolittle Raiders, the Tuskegee Airmen, and the Women Air Service Pilots; astronauts Alan Bean and Gene Cernan; and airline greats Gordon Bethune and Herb Kelleher. The newest group of inductees into the Hall of Fame will be honored at the museum’s 2016 gala and induction ceremony which will take place in Houston on May 7.
In addition to aviation STEM and history exhibits, an archive and research facility, and eye-catching airplanes, the museum will offer a number of amenities for visitors to enjoy including a restaurant, gift shop, and a 400-seat auditorium in which programs, conferences, public meetings, and other events can be held.
This 21st century museum is being created by a consortium of leading experts in education and design throughout the country, including: museum consultant Ralph Bufano, Sarrazin Group, Webb Architects, DG Studios, and Judson Design.
Total project cost, including facility, exhibits, and relocation expenses is estimated at $35 million. In 2014, the museum completed an initial $25 million capital campaign. The success of that campaign encouraged the Board of Directors to expand the museum, add additional educational programming and undertake a $10 million Phase II capital campaign.
Major donors for the campaign include Carolyn and John F. Bookout, Jr., Marshall P. Cloyd, The Cullen Foundation, The Fondren Foundation, T. Dan Friedkin, Thomas H. Friedkin, Fay E. Gregory, FedEx Corporation, The Graham Family, Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Houston Endowment, Inc., Linda and Barry Hunsaker, The J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation, The Nau Foundation, Ed Noel, William D. Noel, Carolyn Cunill Pardue/ Breckenridge Aviation Museum, Ed Rachel Foundation, Karen and Scott Rozzell, Jane and Charles Szalkowski, Bette P. and Ralph B. Thomas, Claire and Robert L. Waltrip, The West Endowment, and The Wortham Foundation.
About The Lone Star Flight Museum
The Lone Star Flight Museum, a 501 (c)(3) educational museum, began as a private aircraft collection in June 1985. Its purposes are to promote and encourage the study of the science of aviation through educational programs, historically significant artifact exhibits, interpretive educational exhibits, special events, and publications; to acquire, restore to flying condition, maintain, operate, and display historically significant vintage aircraft and other materials and artifacts relating to the technology, development, and history of aviation; and to increase public understanding, appreciation, and awareness of the role of the state of Texas and Texans in the advancement of the science and impact of aviation. Visit us at lsfm.org.