The National Museum of the United States Air Force broke ground on a major expansion at its Dayton, Ohio, facility on June 3.

Air Force Museum breaks ground on major expansion

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force broke ground June 3 on a new $35.4 million building that will house aircraft from the museum’s Presidential, Research and Development (R&D) and Global Reach collection, as well as a new and expanded Space Gallery.

The 224,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open to the public in 2016, is being privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, a nonprofit organization chartered to assist in the development and expansion of the Dayton, Ohio, museum’s facilities.

In a news release, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the museum's fourth building will provide increased public awareness of the Air Force mission. “As the Air Force’s window to the public, the museum is where the people come to learn about the history, mission and evolving capabilities of America’s Air Force and about the airmen who are truly the foundation of everything we do,” James said. “In today's Air Force, we not only cherish our legacy; we live it every day with integrity, service and excellence. These core values guide our actions and make us the best Air Force in the world. I thank the Air Force Museum Foundation for their support and assistance in making this facility a reality.”

Included among the many benefits of the fourth building will be the relocation of the popular Presidential and R&D Gallery aircraft including SAM 26000 (Air Force One), which served eight presidents from President Kennedy to President Clinton, and the only remaining XB-70, from a controlled-access portion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to the main museum campus where they will be accessible to all visitors. In addition, the museum will be able to display some artifacts that had previously been kept in storage such as the Titan IV launch vehicle, or kept outside such as the C-141 Hanoi Taxi and the C-130E.