Chairman’s Blog

Chairman’s Blog

OLD PILOT’S LOG
“There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”

RIP to the VAM

As many of you will have heard, the Science Museum of Virginia (SMV) has announced the closing of the Virginia Aviation Museum (VAM), located at the Richmond International Airport. If all goes according to their plan, that will have been done by the time you read this.

To say this is a sad day is an understatement.

A bit of history is called for here. The VAM was created by the Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society (VAHS) in 1987. In the following few years, VAHS added the Benn Theatre and the November annex to the VAM and expanded its displays. In 1990, VAHS donated the VAM and its collections to the SMV, believing this to be in the best interests of the VAM. Largely through the efforts of the VAHS and its members, a very rare SR-71 was acquired and funds were raised to disassemble, transport and reassemble it as the “crown jewel” of the VAM’s collection.

In 2016, shortly before announcing the planned closure of the VAM, the SMV removed the SR-71 from the VAM property and placed it in the new “Speed” exhibit at the SMV facility in downtown Richmond. So, at least a piece of the Virginia Aviation Museum lives on there.

Now to the better news. As we understand it, the Science Museum will offer many of the collected artifacts to the VAHS if we can secure a suitable new home. The various arrangements by which these artifacts were acquired have to be reviewed individually, but most should be available to VAHS on some basis.

Under the heading of “better yet” news, your Board of Directors has been hard at work developing alternative plans to be considered if the Richmond facility could not be retained. We have had some interest expressed by others to create a new Virginia Aviation Museum in another location.

The best news of all is that the VAHS continues to function as usual, maintaining the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame, producing and distributing educational material and publishing the Eagle. We anticipate moving our offices and the Hall to a new location but the date of that move is yet to be determined.

This is the Chairman, broadcasting in the blind, out.

Tim McSwain