Air Group One Museum is open to the public!
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday - 10am to 2pm
Cost: Free !
Donations are always welcome and help us to fulfill our Mission of "Dedication to preserving the history of the people and planes of World War II". In addition, Air Group One gladly accepts donations of WWII memorabilia. To arrange, please call 619-259-5541.
Air Group One's museum is small, but packed with visuals and opportunities to learn about America at war in the air. The museum focuses primarily on World War II, though in the past it has also featured displays on World War One, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm.
Upon entering the museum the first thing that visitors will notice will be the collection of WWII aviation artwork lining the walls. The entry hallway is lined with the Valiant Clan collection from the 1970's, showing all of the major Army Air Force planes in a double row down the length of the hallway. The top row has the Air Force bombers in numerical order (A-26, B-17, B-24, B-25, B-26, and B-29), while the bottom row has the Air Force fighters (P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47, P-51B, P-51D). All of the prints show the aircraft involved in a documented scene of real combat from the war, so the viewer is able to see each plane in action in a historical context. Each print is numbered, and a 3-ring binder on a nearby display case contains descriptive text describing the events being portrayed. This allows which what at first seems to be a simple art gallery to become a learning tool, as the viewer can read information about the aircraft and the battle portrayed.
As the hallway continues past the restroom, another group of Valiant Clan prints highlights a mixed bag of other aircraft, including P-63s, PBY Catalinas, P-61 Black Widows, and an L-5 Sentinel (just like the one in the hangar). Smaller prints (and their accompanying text in the binder) tell the story of A-20s, P-26s, and F8F Bearcats during 1941-45.
Turning the corner the visitor sees a twin row of similar WWII aircraft prints from the Willow Creek collection running down another wall, each with their own story to tell. Nearby are display cases with various aviation artifacts and aircraft models, as well as other large pieces such as uniformed mannequins, dummy bombs, .50 caliber machine guns and even a rare Norden bombsight. A back corner of the museum is currently blocked off, while preparations are being made for the creation of a large photographic display of all aspects of American aviation in WWII, which will take up two walls of the museum. A final four Willow Creek style prints show four famous aircraft of the Korean War in action (with binder text as always).
The center part of the museum has partition walls covered with limited edition artwork from a variety of well-known aviation artists, covering a wide variety of WWII aircraft. The top of the partitions displays a long gallery of portraits of aviators associated with Air Group One (either members or friends of the unit). The portraits are enhanced with copies of medals, patches, and photographs that help tell the story of that particular American airman.
The final wall of the museum shows off the last Valiant Clan grouping, this time a collection of US Navy and Marine Corps aircraft from WWII. Aircraft shown in combat include the Wildcat, Hellcat, Corsair, Dauntless, Helldiver, Avenger, and even the Devastator and Buffalo. The binder histories for these aircraft will continue to enlighten and entertain the viewers as well.
For the younger generation the museum has crayons and coloring book pages of WWII aircraft, giving visiting children something to do while the adults explore the museum.
Air Group One members are available to answer any questions and help you enjoy your museum experience. Come on in and have a look!