Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Out of context: Many exhibits at National Air Force Museum lack key details


The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton is stunning.

Where else can you stroll through the actual plane that flew FDR to Yalta in 1945, or the one that flew Harry Truman to meet an insubordinate Douglas MacArthur on Wake Island in 1950, or the one that flew Dwight D. Eisenhower to Switzerland in 1955 for the first peacetime meetings between the Soviets and Western powers?

You can also walk through the plane that ferried JFK to Dallas in November 1963 — and brought back his lifeless body along with new President LBJ after Kennedy was felled by an assassin’s bullet.

So much history made tangible — and that’s just in the Presidential Gallery far at the back of the museum’s four huge hangars.

From cloth-covered planes pioneered by the Wrights at nearby Huffman Prairie to spaceships that descended from them, a breathtaking array of the technology that has dramatically reshaped modern life is on display in those yawning spaces.

Oh, and did I mention that admission is free?

When I first visited as a child, all was awe walking among primitive biplanes and sleek, supersonic fighters.

But returning to Ohio a few years ago, much older and a little better read, I spotted some holes. Many of the captions accompanying the exhibits omitted key details, enough in some cases to be misleading.

I know. This is the Air Force’s museum and it would be silly to expect it to present a completely objective account of itself.


No comments:

Post a Comment