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Doolittle Air and Space Museum supporters unveil new design

An artist rendering of the proposed of the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum at Travis Air Force Base. (Courtesy photo)

An artist rendering of the proposed of the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum at Travis Air Force Base. (Courtesy photo)

By
July 26, 2011 |

FAIRFIELD — A much more ambitious design for the proposed Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum with three galleries, a state-of-the-art theater and a protected display area for aircraft was unveiled Tuesday.

The museum’s supporters are also gearing up for a national campaign to raise the $34 million needed to build the new facility on land located next to Travis Air Force Base’s hospital gate.

“We love the new design for the museum,” said Jay Adair, co-chairman for the museum’s Wings of Valor Capitol Campaign.

The proposed $34 million target is quite a step up from the $12.5 million museum supporters talked about in April.

So far, the group has raised about $1.5 million and has enlisted the help of actor Tom Hanks for a video presentation that explains the need for the museum and its design.

The new design is a re-creation of a World War II-era stateside military aircraft hangar and control tower. A reflecting pool and a sculpture of a B-25 bomber like the one Jimmy Doolittle flew on his famous April 1942 raid on Tokyo will be in front.

The interior will be divided into three gallery areas and a Jimmy Doolittle Wings of Valor theater. There will also be a museum store and restaurant.

A series of interactive cockpits of different planes visitors can step into will be on the mezzanine level. An elevator will take visitors up to the control tower and interactive exhibits on flight operations.

The six-acre air park behind the proposed museum will be surrounded by berms and have fabric canopies to shade the vintage aircraft.

“This is going to be a state-of-the-art museum that we can all be proud of,” said museum supporter Bob Simpson.

Details about the three-year national campaign to raise the money will be brought back to the museum’s board and campaign cabinet in the near future. Along with Hanks, there are plans to bring in other actors and national figures to help promote the fundraising.

Museum supporters have been trying to get a new, more accessible home for the museum for more than a decade. They even hosted a reunion of the surviving Doolittle Tokyo raiders of World War II fame years ago as a kick-off to raise money for the Doolittle Air and Space Museum.

Doolittle earned fame by leading a flight of 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers that took off from the carrier USS Hornet in a daring raid to strike several cities in Japan on April 18, 1942.

Once built, the new museum will be located next to Travis’ hospital gate — in a location much more accessible to the public than its present location in the base’s interior.

For more information about the museum, visit http://www.jimmydoolittlemuseum.org.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.
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