Pima Air & Space Museum offering number of August educational events

Revamped B-17 museum expected to reopen in Sept.
2013-08-02T00:00:00Z Pima Air & Space Museum offering number of August educational eventsArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 02, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It may be summer, but the Pima Air & Space Museum is still in full flight, with a slate of special educational events this month.

And soon, a newly revamped B-17 bomber museum housed within the Pima Air & Space Museum will give military aviation fans another reason to go.

The museum, at 6000 E. Valencia Road, has earned a reputation as a top tourist destination. It was recently named among the top 10 percent of attractions in the world based on customer ratings on TripAdvisor.com, for the second year in a row.

The museum is offering educational events every Saturday in August, including sessions on model-aircraft building and the science of flight. (See accompanying details.)

One of the world's largest privately funded aerospace museums, the Pima Air & Space Museum features nearly 300 aircraft spread out over 80 acres on a 127-acre campus.

But one attraction - the separately managed 390th Memorial Museum (www.390th.org) - remains closed for an extensive renovation until September.

The $2.4 million renovation includes a new grand entryway and the addition of 12,000 square feet, including a new 7,500-square-foot mezzanine level, said Emile "Terry" Therrien, executive director of the nonprofit 390th Memorial Museum Foundation.

"It will have a completely different look," said Therrien, whose group runs the museum separately from the Pima Air & Space Museum. "As we go along, we'll be upgrading probably 80 percent of the exhibits."

The renovation by Tucson-based Lloyd Construction Co. is expected to be completed later this month, ahead of a grand reopening planned for Sept. 28, Therrien said.

The museum-within-a-museum commemorates the 390th Bombardment Group, part of the U.S. Army Air Corps (and later, Air Force) based in England during World War II.

The museum's centerpiece is a fully restored 1947-vintage B-17G Flying Fortress bomber - nicknamed "I'll Be Around" - of the type used by the 390th, though it was produced too late to see combat, Therrien said.

Summer events

The Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Road, has special events every Saturday in August, starting with a pair of model-airplane-building activities Saturday.

Two afternoon events - "Imagine Rockets" and "How Things Fly" - and the evening "Night Wings 3" event run Aug. 10, 17 and 24.

The activities are for varying age groups; for example, "How Things Fly" on Aug. 17 is for kids 8 and older accompanied by an adult.

Times and costs vary, so for details go online to www.pimaair.org/events.php or call 574-0462.

'Planes' contest

The Pima Air & Space Museum is celebrating the upcoming Disney movie "Planes" with a contest for four tickets to an advance screening of the movie on Tuesday at AMC Foothills Theater. To enter, visit the museum or send an email to planes@pimaair.org before midnight on Sunday.

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