Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center History
(formerly the Travis Air Museum)
Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation
Center for Patriotism
In 1982, at the request of Col Tony Burshnick, Commander, 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis Air Force Base a group of aviation enthusiasts, most of whom are retired Air Force members, establishes the Travis Air Force Base Historical Society, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, for the purpose of creating an air museum on base.
Parade celebrating the 61st Doolittle Raiders Reunion in Fairfield, CA.
The following year, the Travis Air Museum is established with the approval of the Secretary of the Air Force and Public Affairs, albeit with no facility. The mission of the Museum is to help preserve the heritage of the Air Force, the history of Travis Air Force Base and airlift in the Pacific. The Society then begins a vigorous campaign to obtain aircraft and other artifacts for the museum.
When the old commissary on base is vacated in 1986, Col John Tait, Commander, 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis Air Force Base, makes it available to house the accumulated artifacts. Within a year, Travis Air Force Base museum officially becomes the Travis Air Museum. The collection begins to grow.
In 1989, the Museum’s future namesake, California’s aviation pioneer and Medal of Honor recipient, General Jimmy Doolittle sends the base a signed photo congratulating it on the decision to house an air museum.
During 1996, the Travis Air Museum earns the Air Force Heritage Award and reorganizes the staff under a single civilian curator.
In 1999, with the backing of the Wing and the Society, a museum working group is created to explore the feasibility of building a new state-of-the art museum at a convenient site on the edge of the base. The present building is aging and, of course, was not designed as a museum. Furthermore, it is at full capacity. With approximately 60,000 annual visitors, it is also in a very problematic location with respect to base security.
During 2000, the museum working group determines that a new Travis Air Force Base museum is not only necessary, but is also in the best interests of both the Air Force and the local community. Afterwards a new site is identified, some 16 acres, near the Travis Air Force Base hospital. The Campaign for the “Aviation Museum of the New Millennium” begins and an artist’s conception of new museum building is created.
Artist’s conception of one possible vision for a new museum building
In the spring of 2001, with the blessing of the Jimmy Doolittle family and Lieutenant General Ronald C. Marcotte, Vice Commander, Air Mobility Command, the Foundation’s request to rename the new Travis Air Force Base Museum in honor of the late General (Ret) James H. Doolittle is approved.
Shortly thereafter, Brigadier General Thomas Kane, Commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, identifies a new site and organizes a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space museum near the Travis Air Force Base hospital entrance.
Then Brig. General Thomas P. Kane, Commander 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base, organized a ground-breaking ceremony for the new Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum near the Travis Air Force Base David Grand Hospital entrance.
Meanwhile, the Travis Historical Society formally changes its name to the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization.
Unfortunately, after September 11, security changes on base, and other considerations, result in a search for another base site.
In 2002 a Philanthropic Market Study Report and Recommendations is commissioned by the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation.
The following year the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Education Foundation is established as the tax-exempt, non-profit fund-raising arm for the future Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum.
In the spring of 2003, the highly successful 61st Doolittle Raider Reunion is hosted by the Travis Air Force Base Museum, the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation and local communities.
2004 – 2009 Guidance and advice on the challenges of building a new museum are obtained from many sources, in particular the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, the Strategic Air Command Museum in Omaha, the Museum of Flight in Seattle and the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
Many factors are at work: economic, legal, environmental and political. Support is forthcoming from local civic, business, and educational leaders. Little by little the ground work is laid for a new museum. The critical issue, however, is obtaining the land on which to build it.
In the spring of 2010 Colonel James C. Vechery, Commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis Air Force Base officially confirms that a parcel of property on Travis Air Force Base accessible to the general public would be the home of a new Air Force owned and operated Air Museum.
The Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation hires Lanny Couvillon and John Youngberg, Founder and President of FriendRaisers, LLC, as fundraising counsels. Officials unveil a new model of a proposed Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum.
In the winter of 2011/2012, the Air Force advised that it would no longer be able to partner in the effort to construct the new museum due to monetary constraints. They are still exploring the possibility of leasing the land for an air park, but again are not able to commit any assistance in moving the planes, etc. This has lead to the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Education Foundation locating land at the Nut Tree on which to construct the new Jimmy Doolittle Museum. However, in April 2013, the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Education Foundation received a, “one-year no-cost license renewable annually for a maximum of five years” from Travis Air Force Base that reserves the use of the original 11.25 acres located outside the main gate for an Air Park. The Education Foundation is exploring the Air Park options but remains committed to building a new museum at the Nut Tree.
THE JIMMY DOOLITTLE AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM EDUCATION FOUNDATION ENVISIONS A NEW PUBLIC MUSEUM THAT EDUCATES AND INSPIRES GLOBAL PATRIOTISM.
We will preserve, honor and promote our aviation heritage and legacy of patriotism for all ages by combining the best of the original Travis Air Museum with new interactive exhibits in a state-of-the-art facility and air park that includes a science and education center, conference center, Doolittle archives, historic aircraft, library archives, restoration workshops, restaurant, gift shop and staff offices. In addition to the Jimmy Doolittle Museum at the Nut Tree, our future vision is an air park annex at Travis Air Force Base.
Our museum will offer visitors the rare opportunity to fly in restored operational aircraft associated with General Doolittle. This provides the world with a unique, “living history” experience – one which helps us better feel the true sacrifice and courage of American veterans and encourages us all to learn more about our heritage.