Here's another fantasy project for ya:
An Aviation Museum. FW has all sorts of connections to aviation: AA, GD, Lockheed Martin, Bell Textron, Carswell, SAC, etc. Then there's that story about that bomber--what was it, a B36?--they were trying to find a home for it. Anyway, imagine an aviation museum in the Cultural District that has all the different planes that were manufactured in FW, sort of a local version of the Air and Space Museum. Get some famous modernist/pomo architect to design it, and voila, another great destination/cultural institution. It would definitely get a lot of traffic from within the metroplex--think of all the suburbanites with kids from here to Frisco. Then, once they're here, they check out the other museums, buy lunch, spend some money, it becomes a regular stop on the school field trip circuit. The CD has plenty of room, even with the future arena + parking.
This idea has cropped up on several threads not dedicated to the proposition of an aviation museum. This idea has been batted around for awhile, and two or three organizations actually formed to investigate the potential, but it looks like they sort of ended up stepping on each other's toes and fighting each other rather than uniting to get the job done. This is a long past-due development for Fort Worth, I hope the museum people can help them get it together.
Posted on Mon, Nov. 05, 2007 City tries to get aviation museum effort off ground
By CHRIS VAUGHN
Star-Telegram staff writer
FORT WORTH -- After years of fits and fizzles by nonprofits to build an aviation museum in Fort Worth, the city is trying to resurrect the prospect by enlisting the help of the director of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History to jump-start an exploratory committee.
Van Romans, an internationally known museum consultant and designer, has agreed to assemble local and national museum experts to work with the city's aviation-related groups, which have largely worked separately on the effort since the early 1990s.
"Most of the [aviation supporters] are veterans, and I'm a Vietnam vet, so there is a natural bond," said Romans, who served in the Navy. "I'm willing to help them any way I can."
The lack of a military aviation museum in Fort Worth -- while Addison, Dallas and Galveston, for example, have them -- has long been a source of frustration among defense and military retirees, who argue that aviation is as central to Fort Worth's development as cattle and railroads.
Twice they have been embarrassed when the Air Force took airplanes planned for a local museum -- the B-58 Hustler and the B-36 Peacemaker, both made in the west side "bomber plant" -- and gave them to other cities.
"Our disappointment is that nobody has seemed to care," said Clyde Picht, a former councilman and president of the B-36 Peacemaker Museum. "We've capitalized on cattle to the nth degree. But when you look at the economic impact of cattle versus aviation here, there's hardly any comparison."
The Fort Worth Aviation Heritage Association and a splinter group, the B-36 Peacemaker Museum, have failed in their efforts to build a museum. The OV-10 Bronco Association has been aggressively adding airplanes to its museum near Meacham Airport, but it is hamstrung by a lack of visibility and money.
"We've got a lot of guys dedicated to aviation, but they're not museum guys," said Tom Higgins, the city's acting aviation director. "They've been trying to run with this, and it continues to stall."
Higgins and Romans hope to put together a committee of museum professionals and aviation supporters by December that could begin looking at broad issues of location, cost, size and fundraising.
Higgins said it is possible that the city would contribute financially to a museum, if private and corporate backers found a plan they liked. But the effort must be unified and well-thought out, he said.
"They understand that individually they have not been able to do this," Higgins said of the aviation groups. "So we may be going in a direction now that can produce some results. But it's not going to happen fast."
But Romans cautioned city leaders that he cannot afford to spend lots of time on the effort because the Museum of Science and History is in the middle of a $60 million capital campaign and a huge construction project.
"I made a commitment for a couple of meetings to help it come together," Romans said. "I'm very supportive of the folks who would like to build an aviation museum, but I would hope the community would realize that my focus is on the science and history museum."
CHRIS VAUGHN, 817-390-7547