Preserving the history of Naval Aviation.
Defining the future of STEM education.
 

A History of Achievement

The National Naval Aviation Museum and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation share a long and proud history. Throughout it all, a vision has endured—that the proud history and traditions of Naval Aviation can be preserved for each new generation, and that the honorable men and women who have served our country can continue to offer their strength, zeal and experience to the community.

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation raises the funds necessary for Museum expansion; aircraft preservation, conservation and maintenance; and development of new exhibits, as well as providing support of day to day functions, including custodial services, marketing, operation of the Museum’s various attractions (such as our Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, flight simulators, Blue Angels 4D Experience and Fight Deck gift shop), and the production of major events at the Museum.

Further, the Foundation has developed a cutting-edge aviation-themed learning experience, the National Flight Academy (NFA). Aboard the NFA’s simulated aircraft carrier, Ambition, 7-12th graders work as a team to plan and carry out exciting missions using advanced technology and flight simulators that ignite imagination and encourage learning. It is an experience like no other.

 

STEM Education

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation operates a number of educational programs designed to inspire children and adolescents to pursue excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Our Flight to Excellence (FTE) field trip program uses the Museum as an educational tool for teachers and visiting students in grades K-12. The Flight Adventure Deck program introduces 6th, 7th and 8th graders to the science of flight, using interactive devices and educational displays. The National Flight Academy, our premier aviation-inspired learning adventure, is a state of the art program that reaches far beyond the traditional academic experience. Aboard Ambition, our landlocked, virtual aircraft carrier, Aviation eXperimental Pilots (7th-12th graders) live within a completely immersive experience and utilize advanced technology and simulators to plan and fly exciting missions while learning principles of STEM.

See how you can support our STEM Initiatives >

STEM Education

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation operates a number of educational programs designed to inspire children and adolescents to pursue excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Our Flight to Excellence (FTE) field trip program uses the Museum as an educational tool for teachers and visiting students in grades K-12. The Flight Adventure Deck program introduces 6th, 7th and 8th graders to the science of flight, using interactive devices and educational displays. The National Flight Academy, our premier aviation-inspired learning adventure, is a state of the art program that reaches far beyond the traditional academic experience. Aboard Ambition, our landlocked, virtual aircraft carrier, Aviation eXperimental Pilots (7th-12th graders) live within a completely immersive experience and utilize advanced technology and simulators to plan and fly exciting missions while learning principles of STEM.

See how you can support our STEM Initiatives >
 

Museum Construction

The Naval Aviation Museum opened on 8 June 1963 in a wood-frame building constructed during World War II. The Museum’s growing collection quickly overwhelmed the facility; with a mere 8,500 square feet of exhibit space, only a handful of aircraft could be placed on display, and the Museum had little space for proper restoration or archival work. With federal funding unavailable, the answer proved to be a private fundraising corporation. Established on 5 December 1966, the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation (originally named the Naval Aviation Museum Association), began preliminary design and fundraising for a new Museum building in 1967.

Expansion of the Museum has been achieved phases. Phase I, today’s South Wing, was dedicated and delivered to the Navy on 13 April 1975, debt-free and paid for in full. Phase II, completed in 1980, brought the Museum’s total area to 110,000 square feet. Phase III, the West Wing, was completed in 1990. Phase IIIA, began in 1994, introduced a new entrance hall and the Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theatre (which has recently been upgraded to a state-of-the-art digital projections system). Finally, Phase IV, completed in 2011, expanded the Museum to 350,000 square feet with the addition of Hangar Bay One, and saw completion of the state of the art National Flight Academy.

Museum Construction

The Naval Aviation Museum opened on 8 June 1963 in a wood-frame building constructed during World War II. The Museum’s growing collection quickly overwhelmed the facility; with a mere 8,500 square feet of exhibit space, only a handful of aircraft could be placed on display, and the Museum had little space for proper restoration or archival work. With federal funding unavailable, the answer proved to be a private fundraising corporation. Established on 5 December 1966, the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation (originally named the Naval Aviation Museum Association), began preliminary design and fundraising for a new Museum building in 1967.

Expansion of the Museum has been achieved phases. Phase I, today’s South Wing, was dedicated and delivered to the Navy on 13 April 1975, debt-free and paid for in full. Phase II, completed in 1980, brought the Museum’s total area to 110,000 square feet. Phase III, the West Wing, was completed in 1990. Phase IIIA, began in 1994, introduced a new entrance hall and the Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theatre (which has recently been upgraded to a state-of-the-art digital projections system). Finally, Phase IV, completed in 2011, expanded the Museum to 350,000 square feet with the addition of Hangar Bay One, and saw completion of the state of the art National Flight Academy.

 

Aircraft Preservation & Maintenance

As the Museum expanded its collection, it became active in the search for and recovery of naval aircraft wherever they could be found. Several rare warbirds emerged from the depths of Lake Michigan and the Pacific Ocean, including the only surviving Vought SB2U Vindicator; a rare SBD-2 Dauntless that participated in the Battle of Midway; an F4U-1 “Birdcage” Corsair; and a combat veteran F6F-3 Hellcat, among many others now fully restored and on display.

Aircraft Preservation & Maintenance

As the Museum expanded its collection, it became active in the search for and recovery of naval aircraft wherever they could be found. Several rare warbirds emerged from the depths of Lake Michigan and the Pacific Ocean, including the only surviving Vought SB2U Vindicator; a rare SBD-2 Dauntless that participated in the Battle of Midway; an F4U-1 “Birdcage” Corsair; and a combat veteran F6F-3 Hellcat, among many others now fully restored and on display.

 

Exhibits & Collections

Though the aircraft are the largest of the Museum relics, they are just one dimension of the collection. More than 4,000 uniforms, flight gear, weaponry, medals and decorations add a personal touch to the story of Naval Aviation. Donations from organizations such as the Emil Buehler Trust have been key to providing the equipment and technology necessary for this preservation effort. The Emil Buehler Naval Aviation Library, which houses personal and official papers of prominent Naval Aviators, squadron records and a photograph collection numbering more 350,000 images, is a significant repository of naval history and draws researchers from around the world. Further, funds provided through the Foundation provide for the procurement and construction of new exhibitry, such as the Lunar Module replica in Hangar Bay One.

Make a donation to support our exhibits and collection >

Exhibits & Collections

Though the aircraft are the largest of the Museum relics, they are just one dimension of the collection. More than 4,000 uniforms, flight gear, weaponry, medals and decorations add a personal touch to the story of Naval Aviation. Donations from organizations such as the Emil Buehler Trust have been key to providing the equipment and technology necessary for this preservation effort. The Emil Buehler Naval Aviation Library, which houses personal and official papers of prominent Naval Aviators, squadron records and a photograph collection numbering more 350,000 images, is a significant repository of naval history and draws researchers from around the world. Further, funds provided through the Foundation provide for the procurement and construction of new exhibitry, such as the Lunar Module replica in Hangar Bay One.

Make a donation to support our exhibits and collection >
 

Special Events

The Foundation produces a number of special events each year as part of its efforts to increase public awareness of the role of Naval Aviation in America’s history. Since 1987, the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation has hosted a Naval Aviation Symposium each May in Pensacola. The Symposium series highlights historical events in which U.S. Naval Aviation has played a major role, featuring presentations on topics such as the Battle of Midway; American Aces; POWs; the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs; Flying Tigers and Black Sheep Squadrons; and the Blue Angels. The Foundation features additional guest speakers throughout the year as part of its Discovery Saturday series; hosts fun activities and events such as our annual Glenn Miller Concert; and produces large-scale galas and celebrations commemorating key moments in our history (including our 2011 Centennial of Naval Aviation Gala and 2012 Salute to the Pioneers of Space in honor of the 40th anniversary of Apollo XVII), featuring distinguished guests such as Medal of Honor recipient Captain Thomas Hudner, USN (Ret.) and Captain Eugene Cernan, USN (Ret.), last man to walk on the Moon.

Contact us to get the latest on upcoming events >

Special Events

The Foundation produces a number of special events each year as part of its efforts to increase public awareness of the role of Naval Aviation in America’s history. Since 1987, the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation has hosted a Naval Aviation Symposium each May in Pensacola. The Symposium series highlights historical events in which U.S. Naval Aviation has played a major role, featuring presentations on topics such as the Battle of Midway; American Aces; POWs; the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs; Flying Tigers and Black Sheep Squadrons; and the Blue Angels. The Foundation features additional guest speakers throughout the year as part of its Discovery Saturday series; hosts fun activities and events such as our annual Glenn Miller Concert; and produces large-scale galas and celebrations commemorating key moments in our history (including our 2011 Centennial of Naval Aviation Gala and 2012 Salute to the Pioneers of Space in honor of the 40th anniversary of Apollo XVII), featuring distinguished guests such as Medal of Honor recipient Captain Thomas Hudner, USN (Ret.) and Captain Eugene Cernan, USN (Ret.), last man to walk on the Moon.

Contact us to get the latest on upcoming events >
 

Attractions & Operations Support

The Foundation further supports the National Naval Aviation Museum by providing services necessary for its day to day operation. These include all marketing activities (radio and television ads, promotionals, billboards, conventions, etc.), development and maintenance of the Museum’s website and social media, and custodial services which keep the Museum one of the most pristine facilities in the world. The Foundation also operates a number of attractions within the Museum, such as our Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, MaxFlight and Motion Based Simulators, the Blue Angels 4D Experience, and the Flight Deck gift shop. Proceeds from these attractions go towards Foundation overhead and the remainder is gifted to the Museum.

Read more about our Museum attractions: Proceeds from our online store support the Foundation and Museum >

Attractions & Operations Support

The Foundation further supports the National Naval Aviation Museum by providing services necessary for its day to day operation. These include all marketing activities (radio and television ads, promotionals, billboards, conventions, etc.), development and maintenance of the Museum’s website and social media, and custodial services which keep the Museum one of the most pristine facilities in the world. The Foundation also operates a number of attractions within the Museum, such as our Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, MaxFlight and Motion Based Simulators, the Blue Angels 4D Experience, and the Flight Deck gift shop. Proceeds from these attractions go towards Foundation overhead and the remainder is gifted to the Museum.

Read more about our Museum attractions: Proceeds from our online store support the Foundation and Museum >

Our Mission

Our mission is to be the best in the world, self-sustaining Foundation that engages the public by supporting and promoting the National Naval Aviation Museum experience and Naval Aviation, as well as conducting and promoting educational programs.

The Foundation works to foster and perpetuate the National Naval Aviation Museum as a medium of informing and educating the public on the important role of United States Naval Aviation; to inspire students undergoing naval flight training to complete the program and become career officers; to inspire young people to develop an interest in Naval Aviation; to serve as a philanthropic corporation in assisting the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Naval Aviation Museum; to receive, hold and administer gifts received in the best interests of the National Naval Aviation Museum; and to do any other business, act or thing incidental to and necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.