The current layout of the museum includes three buildings at the main location, an outdoor exhibit area that only has about 8-10 aircraft in it now, the 8th Air Force control tower and Nissen huts at the outdoor area, 2 hangars across the field, the storage areas, and the restoration shops. It is open from 9:00 AM
to 5:00 PM
everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.
The galleries at the main location include; in the first building, the Early Years (from man's earliest dreams of flying through the Battle of Britain), the War Power Gallery (dedicated to WW II
); in the second building, the Modern Flight Gallery, Korea and Viet Nam; in the third building, the Cold War Gallery, the Cold War and Desert Storm. Beyond that is the missile silo building which will open in 2004.
Across the field are the Presidential Hangar (included are Roosevelt's, Truman's, Eisenhower's, and Kennedy's personal aircraft) and the Research and Development Hangar (X-1B, X-3, X-4, X-5, X-15, X-29, XB-70, etc.). You have to take a shuttle bus to visit these. The buses, for now, run continuously between 10:00 AM
and 4:00 PM
. It's schedule is dependent on the level of security because these buildings are on the active side of the base.
There is a behind the scenes tour that operates on the second Friday of every month (June, July, and August, every Friday) to the restoration shops and the storage areas in the afternoon. You can preregister or register on Friday morning. It is a 3 hour tour in buildings that are warm to hot in the summer and chilly to cool in the winter.
If you plan to visit for only one day, you will not see everything; pick what you want to see most and go there first, then do what you can with the remaining time.
The museum has an I-Max theater, a Morphus simulator, and a large gift shop area. Becoming a friend of the museum (you can do this when you arrive) gives you a 20% discount in the shops and free entry to the I-Max and Morphus.