TASM Hosts Tuskegee Airman Exhibit

DISPLAYED HISTORY: The Tuskegee Airmen exhibit is displayed at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum until April 14. History of the leading soldiers is shared with visitors through many displays including the photo above.

From Jan. 14 to April 14, Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium will host the traveling exhibit, The Test. This exhibit tells the story of the first African-American aviators to serve in the military of the United States. It shares the struggles in World War II combat overseas and against prejudice and racism in America. While it is a very exciting description about men in war, flying incredible machines, locked in mortal combat miles above the earth, it also explains the continuing struggle to make America live up to its ideals.

In April 1943, after months of training and preparation, the 99th Fighter Squadron, an aviation unit that consisted entirely of African-American personnel, landed in North Africa. This was the beginning of the test phase of an experiment that began many months before at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to determine if black men were capable of being effective combat aviators. Known as the Tuskegee Airmen, these men proved that not only were they capable of performing the mission given them but they excelled where others failed.

Through photographic and text panels and models of the aircraft that they flew, The Test reveals these men’s inspiring stories of their struggle for equality in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Kim Jones, deputy director/curator of Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, notes, “With George Lucas’ release of the motion picture Red Tails on Jan. 20, there will be a heightened awareness of the Tuskegee Airmen, and the exhibit The Test will allow visitors to learn more about the individuals and their stories.”

The Test arrives at just before Black History Month in February and will allow visitors to learn more about a proud and dramatic era in the history of African-Americans.

The Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, located in Tulsa, chronicles the incredible aerospace heritage of Tulsa which includes early Tulsa aviators, the rise of the Tulsa Municipal Airport, the work done at Douglas Tulsa, American Airlines, North American, Rockwell, McDonnell Douglas and Boeing.

The museum is not only the repository for its own artifact and aircraft collection garnered over the last 15 years, but also the custodian of the Tulsa Airport Authority collection that includes the Charles W. Short collection. Additionally, in May 2006, Tulsa became home to one of only three planetariums in the world to have advanced digital technology, bringing full-dome educational experiences to Tulsa for the first time. Since the initial opening of the James E. Bertelsmeyer planetarium, over 150,000 people have experienced one of the many shows offered on a daily basis.

For many students, this has been their first encounter with the vastness of the universe, the challenges of space travel and the science of astronomy. The Museum & Planetarium’s facility plays a vital role in discovery-based learning for thousands of students each year.

hours are: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium is located at 3624 N. 74th East Ave., across from the Tulsa Zoo/Mohawk Park entrance.

For more information, visit www.TulsaAirandSpaceMuseum.org or call 918-834-9900.

Updated 02-20-2012

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