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National Museum of the United States Air Force, Research Division

Page history last edited by Paul Keenan 10 years, 3 months ago

Date of tip: 10 July 2006

Source: Luke Nichter, nluke@bgsu.edu 

 

Location: National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio 45433

 

How to get there: The location of the signing of the Dayton Accords, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its Research Division contain among other things unique records related to past Presidential aircraft from Eisenhower through Clinton (including technical data and trips overseas).  The downside is that these records are located on a secure and active military base, which is best reached by car (I recommend getting driving directions from the internet).  However, those coming from the north on I-75 should exit at I-70 East (exit 61A). Travel to I-675 South (exit 44A). Travel to Exit 15 (Col. Glenn Hwy). As you exit, stay in the right-hand lane. At the end of the exit, turn right at the traffic light (Col. Glenn Highway). Travel to the third traffic light (Harshman Road/Wright Brothers Parkway) and turn right. Exit at Springfield Pike; turn right at the end of the exit ramp. The entrance to the Museum is on the right. (Follow the brown signs!)  There is plenty of free parking when you arrive.

 

Contact Details: Brett Stolle, brett.stolle@wpafb.af.mil, was particularly helpful; phone: +1.937.255.4644 ext. 730

 

Language: English

 

Getting started: Because the Research Division is located on the secure side of the base (as opposed to the museum side), the best thing to do is to contact the Research Division with your research request beforehand, and commit to an arrival day/time (the website says they take research requests only in writing, but email is ok, too).  At that particular time, arrive at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, park the car, and walk up to the information desk just inside the door.  They will call over to the Research Division, and an archivist will come and meet you, and transport you in their personal car to the other side of the base.  Although there are no finding aids available even inside the reading room, if you describe your project to them they are helpful and you should have no difficulty.  One thing to note is that Air Force archives are very decentralized, and Dayton holds merely a fraction.  I understand there are also others in Maryland as well as other locations (such as the relevant Presidential library).  At the end of the day, an archivist will transport you back to the Museum where you started the day.  

 

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 3:30pm (although I would check during your research inquiry)

 

General working conditions: The small reading room contains three or four tables, with power outlets along the wall.  The lighting is generally good, and I did not experience any problems.

 

Consultation: As far as I know, there is no limit to the number of boxes you may consult in a day.  The general rule is one box on the table at one time, and one file from that box on the table at any one time.  They will issue a placeholder for your box when your file is on the table.  Some of the documents are fragile, so they may give you a pair of gloves to wear while you handle them.

 

Policy on technology: Laptops and digital cameras are permitted.

 

Photocopy policy: Since I was using a digital camera, I did not make photocopies, but I did see other researchers doing so without difficulty.  Last I knew photocopies were free of charge, but you have to bring your own paper (8.5 x 11 inches only).

 

Particularities: There is a cafeteria in the Museum, but nothing near the Research Division.  It is worth noting that the Museum (which is free of charge) is excellent, and has a good shop, IMAX cinema, etc.  It can be very busy with tourists on some days, so it is good to give careful attention to your visit.  Also, the museum holds the Presidential aircraft of Eisenhower through Clinton, and many of these can be walked through (fascinating!) simply by signing up for a free tour.  These tours run about once an hour whereby you will be bussed over to a special hanger (they have been moved to a more secure location since September 11), which also includes prototype aircraft.  I highly recommend a visit to this great museum in combination with your research stay.

 

How to apply for classified files: I have no experience with this process, as none of my documents were classified.

 

Places to Stay: There are several places to stay in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Your best bet would probably be one of the many online travel portals.

 

Funding: I am not aware that any funding is available. 

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