Museum foundation soaring to new heights


FTMF redesigns its logo, creates a new website, and is building a new museum

In the early Spring of 2021, the Flight Test Museum Foundation at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., began a comprehensive rebranding campaign, which included a new website design.

The new website rolled out during a soft launch on Jan. 20, 2022. The primary goal is to help generate awareness of the vast educational resources available for school districts in science, technology, engineering, and math.

The website has added many unseen photos and updated content. The design team also streamlined the content and improved the navigation of the site.

“We will provide more updates as we develop more components and build the back-end database to allow for easy navigation through historical, educational and informative content,” said a museum spokesperson. “We are also building the website framework to allow our new corporate partners to create a more exciting user experience.”

The foundation has several new strategic partnerships with many exciting professionals, companies, and organizations.

Award-winning photographer Jim Krantz, who serves on the advisory board as the new creative director, has been instrumental in bringing aboard global architecture and design firm Gensler. Gensler has teamed up with the foundation to develop a breathtaking conceptual design for the museum and assist in the Capital Campaign.

The foundation enlisted Gensler to develop capital campaign assets to help raise funds for the creation of a new museum and STEM Center. The multi-disciplinary team brought together experts from brand design, architecture, and museum design to create a vision for the future of the Flight Test Museum.

The reimagination of the museum coincides with the rise of commercial space exploration and the 75th anniversary of the breaking of the sound barrier in this air space. The area has seen milestones like testing America’s first jet, the breaking of the sound barrier, rocket plane flights to the edge of space and the first glide flights of the space shuttle. The Antelope Valley remains a hub of developmental flight test to this day for all the same reasons. The skill and spirit of all those who participated in this incredible body of work shaped both the modern world and the American persona.

Much of this historic work is not known to the world outside the AV and much of what is known is surrounded by myth and legend because of the secret nature of the work.

“The new Flight Test Museum and STEM center will make that history accessible by literally bringing it outside the Edwards Gate,” a Gensler spokesperson said.

A significant amount of space flight testing happens at the facility, with many outside experts coming to test new technologies.

Additionally, the STEM education program is one of the most important elements of the museum, as it inspires and enables young people to learn about aerospace and flight tests.

The design vision for the new museum marries the rectangular shape of an airplane hangar with the dynamic geometry of a Nighthawk aircraft. The angular roof element funnels down to the ground floor entrance, which helps guide visitors to the main lobby and creates a dramatic sense of welcome. The linear sequence throughout the space leverages the 60,000-square-foot hangar and will add 15,000 square feet of multifaceted programming for a welcome lounge, gallery space, classrooms, library, and gift shop. A branded bar named Pancho Barnes Happy Bottom Riding Club Bar will pay homage to Florence Lowe “Pancho” Barnes, the legendary female aviator who founded the first movie stunt pilots’ union.

The gallery space will house more than 80 historic aircraft, as well as provide views of the outdoor exhibits for the Nighthawk and Black Hawk aircraft. An upper gallery space looks into the hangar, providing an alternate vantage point for viewing the artifacts from the Museum’s collection. The unprogrammed gallery offers flexibility to host fundraisers, events, and rotating exhibits. Ultimately, the new Flight Test Museum and STEM Center will preserve and protect the rich history of the Aerospace Valley, while connecting it to a new generation.

Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 49 locations across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

The foundation’s educational mission is to promote interest and generate excitement for K-12 students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a focused educational outreach campaign about flight testing, aerospace, and Edwards Air Force Base.

To achieve this goal, the Flight Test Museum Foundation is committed to providing open-access educational resources in STEM subjects for teachers, students, and families. These resources enable them to engage in an exploration and understanding of STEM in aerospace and flight testing, build learning opportunities for Southern California students, and provide an educational center where students can learn and explore.

The mission of the Flight Test Museum Foundation is to raise funds to support the development of the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB. The FTMF’s fundraising efforts focus on museum improvements, exhibits, and aircraft acquisition/restoration. They are actively engaged in STEM education and the construction of a new, more accessible museum facility.

The Flight Test Museum Foundation is a private, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization. Tax ID: 77-0003353.

The FTMF is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components, and it has no government status.

For more information about the Flight Test Museum Foundation, please visit www.FlightTestMuseum.org.

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