IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP: CONTACTUS@FREEDOMOFFLIGHTMUSEUM.ORG
MUSEUM EXHIBIT HALL
Our biggest ongoing development project is the AEROSPACE HISTORY HALL. It is located at the Joplin Regional Airport in the General Aviation Terminal’s main entry hallway. The address is 5509 N. Dennis Weaver Dr. Webb City MO. 64870. It is a self-guided, tour open seven days a week 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM.
When the exhibit is fully developed it will include a timeline and exhibits related to major world and regional aerospace events. Viewers will begin their journey with the Dreams of Flight era and walk through seven more eras concluding with the Space Age. Each era will depict the major events in aerospace as it developed in the world. Included with the world events will be stories of events that were happening regionally during the same period. The viewers will find that the region of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma have contributed in many major ways to world aerospace development.
Since our exhibit space is limited to the hallway we plan to provide only the major points of each event. However, we will thoroughly research the history so we can provide a much more comprehensive exhibit for the main museum when it is completed. The space for each era will be about 60 square feet arranged in a cubicle layout.
There are many ways in which a person can help develop these exhibits. No experience in exhibit development, aerospace knowledge or other specialty is required. Just a desire to help preserve some of this area’s rich history.
This is a very limited list of information about each era and what the major world and regional history stories might be.
Dreams of Flight – Ancient History
- Icarus, famous Greek myth began the thoughts of maned flight
- Around 1000 BC the Chinese made and flew efficient kites
- Around 1500 AD Leonardo De Vinci designed various flying machines
- In 1783 the Montgolfier brothers sent people aloft in hot air balloons
- Regional history??? Maybe. What can you find?
Man Takes Flight – 1903 to 1913
- In 1903 the Wright brothers make the first powered flight
- In 1908 Ed DeChenne builds and flies a biplane made in Joplin at Electric Park
- Two businessmen from Monett commission a monoplane, a biplane and an airship to be
- In 1910 Hugh Robinson of Neosho Mo became chief engineer for Glenn Curtiss Aviation. Later
Hugh invented the tail hook system for stopping aircraft landing on carriers.
War Takes Flight – 1914 to 1918
- Airplanes first used in war. Proved that airplanes were viable weapons.
- US Post Office establishes airmail service in 1918.
- First Joplin airmail letter arrives two days later.
- In 1917 famous aviatrix Ruth Law flew to Joplin promoting Liberty War Bonds.
Expanding our Horizons – 1919 to 1937
- In 1919 Hiland-Obrien Airplane Co. established at 3rd and Kentucky in Joplin.
- Thomas Webber starts flight school in Joplin in 1919.
- J.J. Hiland calls for an airport to be developed in Joplin in 1919.
- In 1922 Bessie Coleman becomes the first African American aviator in the world.
- First flight around the world accomplished in 1924.
- Charles Lindbergh makes first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight.
- In 1932 Amelia Earhart becomes the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
- Zeppelin Hindenburg burns in 1937.
- Joplin airport constructed with grass runways in 1937.
Military Development – 1938 to 1944
- Ken Wofford of Carthage Mo part of the Tuskegee Airmen 99th Fighter Squadron.
- Travis Hoover of Webb City Mo serves with Doolittle Raiders in 1942.
- A secret British pilot training base is established in Miami Ok in 1940.
- Air power becomes a major part of WWII war effort and begins the Jet age.
- Joplin Junior College participates in the Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1939.
Flight for the Masses – 1944 to 2014
- Joplin Mo airport begins construction of terminal building and runway paving in 1947.
- The Korean War marks the first extensive use of jet fighters in 1950.
- Actor Bob Cummings from Joplin Mo promotes the first flying car, the Aerocar.
- Helio Aircraft in Pittsburg KS begins manufacturing STOL aircraft in 1950.
- Local pilot Jim Zerkel flies a B47 over Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
- Mid-Continent Airlines and American Airlines begin service to Joplin in 1944.
- Boeing 747 makes its first commercial flight from New York to London in 1971.
- The Concorde supper sonic transport takes flight in 1976.
Testing Our Limits – 1943 to 1957
- The sound barrier is broken by Chuck Yeager in 1947.
- Rocketdyne plant in Neosho Mo is established to make missile engines in 1947.
- The secret Skunk Works was formed in 1943 to develop the jet fighter.
- Area man works on F-117 project.
The Space Age – 1958 and Beyond
- First American satellite Explorer I is launched in 1958.
- NASA selects first 7 astronauts in 1959.
- Eagle Picher Industries begins manufacture of batteries for the space program in 1960.
- Alan Shepard is first American in space in 1961.