Aerotech NewsRadio hosted special guest Cathy Hansen, treasurer and founding member of the Mojave Transportation Museum Foundation May 10.
The non-profit foundation was started in 2002 and has continued to grow significantly since that time.
While the museum currently has no physical structure, it has made quite a splash. The museum has sponsored Plane Crazy Saturday, a monthly event at the Mojave Air and Space Port since 2009. Hansen shared several of the PCS highlights over the last few years including visits from AOPA president Craig Fuller, Emergency Services in Kern County and the Orbital Sciences Lockheed L-1011 “Stargazer.”
The museum has also sought to impact the youth of the area and encourage them academically. One of the ways this is accomplished is through an annual 4.0 banquet for students in Kern County schools that have received a 4.0 grade point average. Speakers are chosen each year that will hopefully inspire both the students and their parents.
The idea to build a transportation museum in Mojave was first brought up in 2001. “We just thought Mojave’s the perfect place for a museum because we’re kind of a hub of transportation,” said Hansen. She shared some of the details of Mojave’s history dating back to the gold rush and mule-teams used to transport borax though the Mojave Desert.
The goal is build a museum with interactive displays where people can come and learn. They want it to be a place where people come and say “I didn’t know that.”
The funds for this however, are still a long way off. According to Hansen, they need a donor with a large financial backing to come alongside and share the vision. Meanwhile, the Mojave Airport board has said it will provide land at the entrance to the airport, where currently there is a NASA Convair 990 and an F-4 Phantom on static display.
The facility is envisioned as being more than just an aviation museum, however, and will cover all aspects of Mojave’s transportation history. The area was a nexus of trading routes for Native Americans, and later was the rail hub for Southern Pacific during the time that the rail line was being built over the Tehachapi Pass. Several wagon trails terminated at the rail line in Mojave during the late 1800s that served to bring gold and silver ore from the eastern Sierras. The famed 20-mule team road ran right through the airport property (vestiges of the road can still be seen in aerial photos), and later the airport served as Marine Corps Air Station Mojave during World War II.
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