Itching to visit the Missile and Space Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force? Better scratch it now: museum officials say it will be closed temporarily beginning Dec. 8, 2014 for approximately five months because of construction linking the gallery to the museum’s new fourth building.
Plans for the fourth building project design call for the Missile and Space Gallery’s exterior wall panels to be removed on the south side to form new entrances on the first floor and mezzanine levels. Once completed, the 224,000 square foot fourth building, which is scheduled to open to the public in the spring of 2016, will offer the public both ground and upper level views of all the new galleries (Presidential Aircraft, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach).
Artifacts and exhibits listed on the museum’s Missile and Space Gallery web page will not be accessible while the gallery is closed, except for the Apollo 15 Command Module, Dyna-Soar X-20A, Aeroject Aerobee Rocket and the Gen. T.D. White and “Five Stars in Space” exhibits.
Although the public will not have direct access to most of the artifacts in the Missile and Space Gallery during the closure, a video featuring those exhibits will be available for view at the gallery entrance. The public is also encouraged to explore the gallery online by visiting the museum’s Virtual Tour, which allows visitors to take a virtual, 3-D, self-guided tour of the entire museum.
The $35.4 million fourth building is being privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, a non-profit organization chartered to assist in the development and expansion of the museum’s facilities. It continues to fundraise toward its campaign goal of $46 million, which would provide for further options and requirements. Read the museum’s press release for more details.