Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

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The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is in McMinnville, Oregon. It’s most famous resident is the Spruce Goose, but there are also lots of other interesting exhibits including a Blackbird and actual Titan Missile.

Aircraft Hangar at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

Inside the aviation hangar at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. That Spruce Goose!!

We spent the day there during our Zartusacan road trip and had a great time wandering around the two large hangars of exhibits. We are both very interested in air and space travel, and have been to several important museums before, this time it was the lure of the Spruce Goose that was the pull. One hangar is dedicated to air travel, the other to space, and there’s a large cinema (sorry, “movie theatre”) in the middle. As we were parking up the bikes a guy drove round in a shuttle (a Shuttle shuttle… a golf buggy made to look like Space Shuttle Discovery) and asked us if we wanted a ride to the entrance – he seems surprised when we suggested we’d walk the 100 metres to the door. Ah America.

Zartusacan - Spruce Goose

The Spruce Goose. Can you spot me?!

The Spruce Goose (Hughes’ Flying Boat), actually made of birch (but of course), is apparently the largest plane ever constructed and was only flown once – a one mile proof of concept flight. And I can confirm it is absolutely massive. Even though we knew it was big we were taken aback with the sheer size of the thing. All the other planes in the hangar sat under its wings, including a B17 Bomber, which looked tiny in comparison. There were also replicas of Wright Brothers planes along with lots of world war fighters, and while we were there a group of women aviators were giving talks on how they got into their careers which was very interesting to hear in the background.

Zartusacan - Spruce Goose and a B17

A B17 Bomber under the Spruce Goose.

Over in the other hangar were a number of exhibits that we found very interesting. The Titan missile is a huge and particularly scary piece of history, armed width nuclear warheads they were dotted around America in the Cold War ready to launch from underground bunkers (I imagine a cross between James Bond and Austin Powers…). I’m so glad no one ever pressed that particular red button. There are two to view, one is an actual missile laid on its side across the hangar, the other sat upright in a replica missile silo.

Zartusacan - Titan Missile

A Titan Missile. The human race is scary.

Zartusacan - Titan Missile

Just tinkering 🙂

Then there was the SR-17 Blackbird, a matt black and stealth looking aircraft that had sentences like “er… we don’t actually know anything about this as it’s still classified” on the information boards. This filled me with intrigue – and the fact that it can fly at 2,000 miles an hour to the edge of space makes me want to have a go! One thing in the space hangar that struck me I think more than anything was a whole section of the Berlin Wall. No notice, no label, no information board, just sat there right by the television screen playing President John F Kennedy’s “we choose to go to the moon” speech on a loop. I’m not sure most people who walked by it knew what it was.

Zartusacan - Blackbird

Blackbird. No details, too secret.

Zartusacan - Blackbird

Maybe the manual will show me how to put this thing back together?!

We chose the “Age of Flight” movie and sat centre middle in the huge cinema to watch. It’s a National Geographic made documentary about how life has changed since aeroplanes were invented – how we can now travel distance and get goods from all over the world. Well made, I could have done with some popcorn.

Zartusacan - The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall. A section of it anyway.

It costs $25 to get in which includes your choice of one of the three 45-minute movies, and we spent a good few hours there – about five including eating lunch in the Cosmo Café (I had a great spinach and berry salad, yummy). Definitely somewhere to add to your list for when you’re in the area.

Find out more about the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum on their website.

 

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