A new Museum of Flying is going to be built on Airport Avenue on the south side of Santa Monica Airport adjacent to the historic DC-3 Monument. The target date for its opening is December 17, 2009.The Airport’s original Museum of Flying opened in 1989 but closed in July of 2002. In 2003, Dan Ryan, who at the time was the museum’s Executive Director, stated that the museum was closed due to escalating insurance costs and increased City fines for noise violations by the museum’s flying fleet. At a community outreach meeting on May 16, Ryan, the new museum’s Managing Director, said that the museum would focus on the Douglas Aircraft Company and the history of the Santa Monica Airport. The museum will house about 20 aircraft from the original collection and the centerpiece will be the Douglas World Cruiser. The entire original collection was stored in two hangars and three cargo containers at the Airport. A library will also be part of the museum but the specifics haven’t been worked out yet.Ryan also mentioned there “won’t be a flying component in the new museum” like the old one but a Boeing Stearman would occasionally fly and there would also be a flight simulator. Ryan pointed out that the new museum’s square footage will be about 40 percent smaller than the original museum and therefore it won’t be able to accommodate the large events the other one did. However, the museum’s second floor (mezzanine) re-creation of the Douglas Board room will be great for hosting small groups functions and the main floor will be able to hold receptions for up to one hundred people.The new museum’s architect, Rick Solberg, also designed the original museum. Solberg stressed that the main focus of work on the building that will house the new museum will be to remodel it and extend the building to an existing south hanger row. The parking lot will contain 25 spaces. Ryan told the Mirror that if more parking is needed for special functions, the museum will rent Santa Monica College’s lot or will use the lot west of their location that is used for the Antique Market’s parking. Parking concerns and noise issues from functions were the two main issues brought up by the neighbors of the project who attended the community meeting.December 17, 2009 is being targeted as the opening date for the museum because the Wright brothers took their historic flight on that day in 1903 and on the same day in 1935 the DC-3 took its first flight. The City of Santa Monica’s Airport Director, Bob Trimborn, stated that the museum would “create a historical focal point for the Airport.”Ryan also discussed the museum’s capital campaign which has a goal of raising $2 million. This figure includes the costs for the museum’s buildings, interior design and the upgrade and displays costs for its exhibits. A message center has been established for those who want to contribute to the capital campaign or who have questions. The message center number is 310. 398.2500. Contributions can be sent to: Museum of Flying Building FundAttn: Daniel J. Ryan, Managing Director2425 Olympic Blvd. Suite 650 EastSanta Monica, CA 90404
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