The Wings Over Salina Air Museum, at Salina Municipal Airport (SLN) in Kansas, received its first monetary donation earlier this month. The donation was sent anonymously and was added to the provisional museum fund, which will go toward building the structure. Artifact donations have also been coming in, museum officials said.
The airport authority started a provisional fund with $500 to raise money for the museum’s planning and construction. Money donated to that fund will go to building the museum building and monuments to commemorate items of significance in local aviation. An endowment fund to support operations has been seeded by the airport authority with $10,000.
Currently, the south lobby of the M.J. Kennedy Air Terminal Building will play host to many of the items that will find a permanent home in the Wings Over Salina Air Museum. As items come in, more are being displayed.
Items sought after for the museum include Smoky Hill Army Airfield and Schilling Air Force Base related materials. The military had a huge presence in Salina in the 1940s through the 1960s, and a near devastating effect on the town when the base closed. The men and women who called Salina home during the building blocks of its history have since scattered to all edges of the country. Those historic items are proving to be the most difficult to find, museum officials said. Plans are in works to gather oral histories and memorabilia from the men and women who spent time on any of the bases in the Salina area.
Along with a significant military aviation history, Salina is the boyhood home of former NASA astronaut Steven Hawley. The town also made aviation history twice in the mid 2000s. In 2005, Steve Fossett flew the first solo nonstop airplane flight around the world, starting and ending in Salina. Then in 2006, he set the absolute distance over a closed circuit record, landing in Salina. Major aviation manufacturers have employed thousands of local residents since the late 60s. Unmanned aerial systems being developed at K-State at Salina are quickly changing the course of history and the future of aviation. Items related to these nonmilitary related pieces of history are also being sought. Photos, uniforms, signs, paperwork and newspapers are just a few of the items that are planned to be housed in the museum.
Formore information: 785-827-3914 or SALAir.org.