News>Association helps museum make progress, preserve history
Visitors to the 8th Air Force Museum read about the B-24 Liberator, Louisiana Belle II, at the museum?s air park Feb. 12, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The aircraft is one of only 17 of the B-24 series of bombers currently on display or in the restoration process worldwide. The original production amounted to more than 18,000 bombers. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco)(Released)
Visitors to the 8th Air Force Museum look at the C-47A Skytrain static aircraft display Feb. 12, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The museum sees several thousand visitors every year. Repair and maintenance for the displays are funded by donations and fundraising efforts by the 8th Air Force Museum Association. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco)(Released)
by Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
2/16/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Many residents of the base and local community are unaware that one of the biggest collections of historic displays and educational information are right next door at the 8th Air Force Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base.
The museum sees several thousand guests pass through its doors and air park every year, free of charge, and contains a wealth of information about the base's past as well as that of the local Shreveport/Bossier City communities.
Part of the work that goes into keeping the doors open to the public is performed by the 8th Air Force Museum Association. This entity is a group of local citizens and retired military personnel who have a keen interest and dedication to the museum.
"Our goal is to support the museum," said Terry Snook, 8 AF Museum Association board president. "The Air Force cannot raise money, but we can."
Maintenance on the museum displays and aircraft can be an expensive endeavor and this is where the association's support really shows. So far the association has accumulated tens of thousands of dollars through grants and fundraisers to restore the museum assets. The association also manages the gift shop and returns the profits to the museum for care of the items on display for visitors.
The operating budget provided by the Air Force for the museum is earmarked for standard administrative costs, such as printer paper, ink, computer equipment, office equipment, etc. All other work is supported by funds raised by the association's efforts or by donations at the entrance to the museum.
"The museum recently completed a lot of work on the B-17 display in the air park," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Steinsholt, museum operations superintendent and sole full-time overseer of the displays. "We are currently repainting the SR-71 Blackbird and will begin work on the KC-97 followed by the B-29."
Some of the unique items visitors can see at the museum include a B-24J Liberator bomber, one of only 17 of the B-24 series of bombers currently on display or in the restoration process worldwide. The original production amounted to more than 18,000 bombers.
Other displays include the items used by former President George W. Bush when he briefed the media from Barksdale on Sept. 11, 2001 after the terrorist attacks that morning, and a recreation of the home of U.S. Army Air Corps Lt. Eugene Hoy Barksdale, for whom the base is named. The furniture and piano in the display were brought to the museum from Barksdale's childhood home and the exhibit is still under construction.
Though access is through a secure gate, the museum is open to the public. Guests may visit the museum by entering the North Gate, at the end of Northgate Road in Bossier City. Visitors must inform the guard they are going to the museum and, after providing the guard identification, will be allowed through to the museum parking lot.
Operating hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. More information may be found at www.8afmuseum.com.