The Virginia Museum of Transportation has received a $25,500 grant from the Foundation for Roanoke Valley from the Foundation’s Community Catalyst Funds to develop new exhibits in the Museum’s upcoming Wings Over Virginia aviation gallery.
At one time, the Museum’s aviation gallery was a popular attraction and an educational asset for western Virginia residents and schoolchildren. In 2006, a storm ripped off the roof and destroyed the exhibit. To develop the new aviation gallery, the Museum solicited feedback from the community and developed its interpretive plan around the public’s ideas and dreams.
Don Moser, Deputy Director of the Museum and a pilot himself, has led the development of the gallery’s conceptual plan. “With the help of many valuable partners, Roanoke and Western Virginia will have a creative, hands-on way to explore Virginia’s aviation heritage like never before,” says Moser.
The gallery’s exhibits will focus on:
- Stories of courageous pilots, civilian and military, who changed the course of history.
- Exhibits that trace the development of flight in Virginia, from barnstormers to Virginia’s new Spaceport.
- Hands-on exploration of aviation technology to teach science and engineering, inspiring the next generation of aviators.
“Foundation for Roanoke Valley’s support will help this Museum in a big way in all three of these areas,” said Beverly T. Fitzpatrick, Jr., the Museum’s executive director. Specifically, the Foundation’s funding supports two hands-on technology-based exhibits, an exhibit featuring the notable accomplishments of women in aviation, and a display of careers in aviation.
“We are committed to the advancement of this region, and we realized that these specific and important resources do not currently exist in southwest Virginia,” said Alan E. Ronk, Executive Director of Foundation for Roanoke Valley. “The aviation industry is projecting strong jobs growth, but the resources for school children to learn about aviation are mostly in northern or eastern Virginia. Plus, we want our youth to know about the aviation heroes from this area who pioneered air service in the Roanoke Valley and who served courageously to preserve America’s freedom in WWI, WWII, and other conflicts.”
The Museum continues to seek funding for additional gallery components. Visit www.vmt.org for more information about the Wings Over Virginia aviation gallery.