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Group wants to create new aviation museum in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Group wants to create new aviation museum and learning center in Joplin

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Plans are being organized for a possible new aviation museum in Joplin.

Organizers say they've been talking about this for years but the May 22, 2011 tornado put a damper on things.

Now the idea is once again taking flight.

"We want to show the rich history that we have in this area," says Darryl Coit of Freedom of Flight Museum.

Joplin's airport has a few stories to tell.

"This was one of the original air mail routes when they started air mail - Charles Lindbergh landed here," says Joplin Regional Airport manager Steve Stockam.

Photographs in the airport's lobby chronicle some of this history but Coit says there is much more to offer.  He wants to build a museum to house pictures, documents, and planes of an interactive past.

"We want to provide this discovery center type of function for our area youth to foster an interest in the math and science technologies," says Coit.  "Hands-on type activities."

"You also want to be able to spur the interest of this next generation so that they'll carry us to the next level, whatever that level may be," says Stockam.

"We might have them building part of a wing, which indicates geometry and other aspects," says Coit.

Right now it's just an idea.

No land for this proposed museum has been bought or even selected.

But preservation and education are two destinations aviation enthusiasts hope will be popular with public support.

"It's pretty expensive to build a building large enough to hold aircraft and that's the major problem," says Coit.  "So we're going to be on a long term fundraising plan for quite a while."

Some fundraising efforts are planned.

For more information visit www.freedomofflightmuseum.org.

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