St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
After leaving the courthouse, we drove to the Airpower Museum just outside of Blakesburg, Iowa. The museum wasn't open yet (it opens at 9 A.M. on weekdays), so we played Frisbee beside the airfield. Then we read our Bibles together on a picnic table. At 9:00, one of the trustees, Brent Taylor, son of Robert Taylor (founder and chairman), drove up and opened the museum for us.
The museum and office building are shown above, along with a couple hangars in the background. There is no admission fee, but freewill donations are accepted. After opening the museum, the Mr. Taylor told us to go ahead and browse, as long as we didn't sit or stand on any of the aircraft. His son would be in the office if we had any questions.
The main room of the museum was packed full with model airplanes and airplane parts. We saw a twin-row rotary engine built for a 1919 Multi-X aircraft, a 1918 Hispano-Suiza cutaway engine, lots of propellers, the remains of a propellor from a plane that "cracked up" in World War 1, World War 2 bombay doors, a radiator, and much more.
A balloon basket is on the left along with an early balloon basket parachute bag. In World War 1, men in observation balloons were issued parachutes, but Allied airplane pilots were not. Many, perhaps unnecessarily, lost their lives because of this policy. Officials were concerned that the aviators would bail at the slightest sign of trouble. Toward the end of the war, German airmen were issued parachutes.
There were many prints of airplanes and such on the walls. You can see on the upper left a display on aviation radio programs. On the upper right are photos of many types of old planes. If I remember correctly, the object on the lower left is something used in the bomb bay. The lower right shows another room in the museum, devoted exclusively to memorabilia. There are trophies and awards, photos of notable people, and a collection of newspaper clippings.
The adjoining hangar was filled with aircraft. The piece of an aircraft tail on the wall with the South Vietnamese flag on it is from a plane that was damaged during a rocket attack in the Vietnam War.
Some museums are heavy on explanations and weak in artifacts (i.e. some have a wall full of history I could just read online for every one little artifact--or worse, replica of an artifact--in a huge, new, beautifully organized building with a stiff $10 admission fee). This museum is just the opposite. It is filled with the real deal--plenty of artifacts--viewable for free! But, as Papa noted, everything, well, does seems old. Ha! I'll leave it to you to decide whether that's a good or bad thing for a museum.
I'm glad we stopped by the Airpower Museum. It was a neat place to visit, and I'd like to thank the Taylor family and all those involved in keeping this very interesting collection open to the public.
(There is a fence in the first photo.)