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April 2, 2013

Girssom: Taking off

PERU — People attended the Grissom Air Museum opening Monday and braved chilly temperatures to look at the museum and airpark after it was closed in the winter months through March 31.

Jim Price, executive director of the Grissom Air Museum, said although the museum opened Monday, they will be having the annual open house Saturday because the opening fell on a weekday.

“We want to remind everyone we’re here,” Price said.

Visitors will be welcomed by exhibits, aircraft and hands-on activities. Those who attended the opening received a discount admission price and the choice of a museum Frisbee or cup.

The museum is open through the week for guided tours and educational presentations, Price said. Admission in to the museum is $7 for adults and $6 for veterans, senior citizens or students. Museum members and children ages six and under are free.

For the first time this year there will be a Warbird Golf Outing in May, with proceeds going into the museum’s aircraft maintenance program, P.R.O.P. There are more than 26 military aircraft on display outside. Money given to the P.R.O.P. Program goes directly into a fund used to do restoration and maintenance on aircraft.    

Price said they are also trying to raise $20,000 to complete a Veteran’s Walkway, 2,000 foot paved trail through the airpark to help make it more accessible.

Price, who has been executive director for three years, answered questions and helped museum visitors.

A family from Grand Rapids, Mich., stopped in to the Grissom Air Museum Monday afternoon. Dell and Amy Todd were on their way to Brown County with their children, Spencer, a sixth grader, and Katie, an eighth grader.

“We’re big space fans and we knew we had to stop when we saw the sign,” Dell said. “I love the planes outside.”

Amy said she enjoyed reading the history about each exhibit. Dell said Price was awesome and the experience was a nice surprise.

Price said there are two things he is hoping to see this year.

“We want the community to see the museum as theirs,” Price said. “We want this area to be used more.”  

Price said in addition to the museum and airpark, there is a 15-acre park west of the exhibit hall. The land in the park includes a pavilion, grill and electrical and water hook up.

Price said they don’t charge people to use the area unless they use electricity or water. It has been used for reunions and other events.

He also wants people to know he could use their specialties.

“Whether it is maintenance, mechanics, painting, landscaping or anything the museum could use your skill set,” Price said. “We’re not looking for tons of money or endless days of work here. A little specialty can go a long way.”

Price said he sees a lot of potential.

“We don’t want people to say they didn’t know we were here,” Price said. “We’ll be working to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

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