VACAVILLE — Patrons and donors of the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum stood outside a hanger, hands above their eyes as they watched a P-57 land in front of them.
The crowd erupted in a cheer as they watched the plane descend. Dozens toured aviation crafts and watched several take flight before sitting down for dinner, drinks and a little history lesson on Jimmy Doolittle.
The second annual Stars and Stripes Gala brought the museum one step closer toward funding its new building. The gala took place at the Nut Tree Airport, an appropriate setting just minutes from where the new museum is set to be built.
Plans to build a new museum have been in the works for several years, but over the past year the Doolittle Education Foundation has been looking at privatization.
Capital Campaign Cabinet co-chair Herman Rowland said the foundation been looking to acquire an 11.5-acre piece of property on Nut Tree Road for over a year now, and – as of Saturday – he believes the end is in sight.
Rowland and museum director Linn Benson lit up with excitement detailing the many ambitious plans the foundation has for the museum.
They want to incorporate history of the museum’s namesake, Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, as well as history on World War II and Travis Air Force Base.
One idea of Rowland is creating a bus system to take visitors from the new Doolittle Museum to Travis for tours.
“We want to tell the story of Travis,” Rowland said.
Other ideas they’ve been brainstorming include a 1,000-seat restaurant with a view of plane landings, an IMAX theater featuring World War II educational films and a gift shop emulating the old Nut Tree restaurant.
While many of these plans are still being drafted, the main focus of the museum will be “education and patriotism,” Benson said.
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.