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Name change heralds new era at AF museum

DAYTON, Ohio (AFPN) -- A dramatic era of change and growth continues to unfold at the Air Force's national museum with the institution launching a formal name change.

Officials announced the name change from the U.S. Air Force Museum to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force during a ceremony Oct. 14.

"The Air Force museum is a national treasure," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, who gave the keynote address. "The museum tells the story of our proud legacy and preserves our unique heritage so that all can learn about the history, mission and capabilities of America's Air Force."

The museum's new name underscores its status as the official trustee of the Air Force story, confirms the museum's national character and world-class collection, and signals its rapidly growing facilities and global visibility, officials said.

"We have always been the Air Force's national museum, but the Air Force saw this name change as a necessary step to raise the institution to its rightful place," said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director. "This new name places the museum at a level of its peers, such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Naval Aviation and the planned National Museum of the U.S. Army."

The name change comes at a historically and strategically pivotal time of growth for the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum, officials said. It encompasses more than 300 aircraft and 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Recent additions to the museum include a 200,000 square-foot Eugene W. Kettering Building housing a Cold War gallery and a 12,500 square-foot missile and space gallery.

The missile and space gallery will house the museum's unique collection of intercontinental ballistic missiles, satellite launch vehicles and other elements of the institution's space collection.

Future expansion phases include a center to house the museum's presidential aircraft collection, a space gallery, collection management facility, education center, parking and other facility enhancements.

"The combination of our growing collection, events and expansion has significantly raised the profile of this institution," General Metcalf said. "Last year, we attracted nearly 1.4 million visitors. This name change further positions us to continue to expand awareness of the museum and the Air Force both nationally and globally."

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