In 1984, the United States Air Force no longer needed the old Administration building that sat on McConnell Air Force Base, and the doors were locked and the building abandoned.
At the same time, the Wichita Aeronautical Historical Association was searching for a facility to open a museum. The former municipal airport terminal seemed the perfect choice. The property was eventually acquired by the City of Wichita and is currently being leased to the museum's Board of Trustees. Undaunted volunteers entered the building in the late 1980s with wheelbarrows and shovels and began the arduous task of cleaning an abandoned historic building. The museum opened on April 19, 1991 to showcase Kansas aviation history.
Today the building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being restored to its original glory.
The museum currently owns or has on loan 40 planes, several pending restoration. Some of the most notable planes include: a Beech Starship, a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, a 1934 Stearman Trainer, the Boeing model 737, a KC 135E refueling tanker, and a 1927 Swallow. Work begins this spring on restoration of the B-47. Check back for updates on progress and specific times you can observe major restoration work.
The museum also houses an extensive display of aircraft and engines from a variety of time periods. The control tower, added to the building in 1941, is accessible to the public and provides a view of the area from the highest point in Wichita. Also available to the public with prior arrangement is an archive of an estimated 200,000 photographs and documents of aviation-related memorabilia.