Our Second Trip
The Mighty Eighth Heritage Museum
A few weeks after opening day, I took the Warmonger and the Hoodlumette
to check out the displays. Construction work was still obvious, but there
was plenty to see.
After checking in at the desk and showing my prestigious Mighty Eighth
Heritage Museum membership card, we went into the museum area.
The first part is a long, dark corridor with photographic and text displays
dealing with the origins of World War II. It's a bit like walking through
a Time-Life book, very professionally done. I can't say that I learned a lot
new, but then I'm a bit of a WWII junkie. I was certainly reminded of a lot.
This is not a softened Hollywood musical version of the war. One striking
image, in a perverse sort of way, was a propaganda picture of this kindly
gentleman. I was looking at it, trying to figure out what I thought of
it, when the Hoodlumette came and pulled me forward.
I was kind of glad she did.
The next part was a video presentation inside a genuine Quonset hut,
pieces of which were brought back from England.
It was tricked out as a ready room, and we watched a short video which
set the stage for the next segments.
Outside the hut, we watched old film clips showing ground operations,
bomb loading, and general preparations for a bombing mission. This
set the stage for the next presentation.
You will note a lack of pictures for this part because:
(1) Picture taking is not allowed, and
(2) Pictures cannot convey the experience.
Inside a small closed in theater, there are curved benches, a
multitude of TV screens, and enough loudspeakers to outfit a
traveling rock band. The intent is to convey the feeling of a
bombing mission over Germany, including flak, fighter attacks and
the bomb run itself. I am not going to describe the presentation
in detail because:
(1) I don't want to spoil it if you go, and
(2) I'm not a good enough writer to do it justice.
I will say that it scared the hell out of me.
Blessed with the triple advantages of youth, ignorance and immortality,
the Warmonger and the Hoodlumette were not so bothered. They just
thought it was a good show.
Once outside the theater, and after I recovered my composure, we took
a look around at the main exhibit hall.
This is a 2/3 scale replica of a control tower from a field in
England. The tail section shown is of the only real airplane in
the museum, a ME-163 rocket plane. Also shown are two bicycles,
which were more important to the war effort than I realized.
Then we uncovered a major scandal!
Is this AirplaneGate? Check it out.
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