The Museum

About the Museum

The U.S. Army Aviation Museum maintains a collection of over 160 military aircraft, including one of the largest collections of military helicopters in the world. Approximately 50 beautifully restored, historic and one-of-a-kind aircraft, are proudly displayed both inside the Museum’s 70,000 square feet of exhibit space and outside on the Museum’s grounds. The collection includes many significant examples of early research efforts and developments in rotary wing technology and the evolution of the helicopter. Our public galleries represent the Army’s involvement in military aviation from the beginning days with the Wright brothers and the early combat aircraft of World War I, up to the highly technological machines such as the AH-64 Apache and the UH-60 Blackhawk flown by Army Aviators today.

The Museum also tells the human side of Army Aviation and features memorabilia and photo essays that capture the human spirit of our proud heritage.




History of the Museum

The Army Aviation Museum, at least in concept, was officially established on 17 April 1956.

At the time, there were no clear Army regulations to prescribe the manning, funding or organization of a museum. Initially, programs were not established for the collection, safeguarding, restoration, accountability, or display of historical properties. Nor were personnel specifically assigned to work at the Museum, except as an additional duty or through volunteer interest.

For over ten years, the Army Aviation Museum existed only through the hard work and dedication of a handful of senior aviation officers and civilians, who slowly added to the collection of aircraft and memorabilia. Many valuable items were added to the Museum collection during this period; however, most of them suffered extensive damage or were lost through pilferage and vandalism.

On 18 August 1964, the Director of the Department of Maintenance was appointed as the coordinator for all actions concerning the Army Aviation Museum until a full-time curator could be secured. This was the first time anyone had been officially assigned this type of responsibility for the Museum.

In October 1966, authorization was obtained for a civilian curator and Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) William A. Howell was appointed as the first Army Aviation Museum Curator. With the approval of a comprehensive long-range plan to include the mission for development and operation of the museum in the spring of 1967, the Museum was relocated to building T-6007 and formally opened its doors to the public on 26 November 1968. During the first year of operation, the Museum welcomed over 130,000 visitors through its doors.

Since that time, the Museum has rapidly expanded with the acquisition of buildings T-6008 (in 1969) and T-6009 (in 1972), which were necessary to accommodate the growing collection of valuable aircraft and historic artifacts.

In November 1989, construction of a new, permanent home for the Museum was completed after 10 years of intense fundraising by the Army Aviation Museum Foundation and matching federal funds obtained through the efforts of Alabama Congressman William Dickinson.