Sunday, August 13, 2017
This large museum building is tucked away in a corner of Paine Field in Everett, Washington. I visited in August 2017 on the way home from a long weekend in Portland to visit Antiques Roadshow! The museum is the lifelong dream of Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft – he has long had a passion for historic aircraft, and set about acquiring some of the rarest examples of military aircraft in the world. Many of the planes are in restored and flyable condition – and they are spectacular!
The museum has excellent information on each plane, both the make and model of the particular plane on display, as well as the particulars of the plane that is sitting before you, and how it was acquired. I am a nerd for that kind of detail, so I enjoyed reading all the signs and taking good long looks at the planes.
Allen branched out into collecting other types of military vehicles as well, and eventually had to change the name of the museum to reflect the fact that it wasn’t all planes. The museum has all sorts of Jeeps, tanks, transport vehicles, rocket launchers and other types of combat armored vehicles. It is really interesting to see.
There is a great exhibit on World War I and II; and the history of events that led up to the world being embroiled in battle twice in less than 30 years. There was a lot of information in that room, as well as replicas of the Fat Man and Little Boy atomic bombs.
There is even the trophy for the X-Prize that Paul Allen and his team won in 2004 – for being the first non-government organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks – it came with a $10 million prize too, but that wasn’t on display.
Some of my favorite planes though, are the ones with the nose art. They are so beautiful – and really represent the character and personality of the pilot who flew the plane. I have seen some really nice nose art at various museum, and loved the artwork here.
The museum is well worth the $16 cost of admission, and even Shelley’s teenage son Jack, who was pretty blah about going, had to admit in the end that he really enjoyed it. It was a great end to a nice long weekend.