Wings Over the Rockies flew higher than ever in 2005
At our recent annual meeting with members and volunteers of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, we announced the addition of several new and improved exhibits, and reported on the success of our outreach programs and special events, which have advanced our mission across communities and across generations.
Museum visitors, program participants and special events guests came to know firsthand that Wings embraces the responsibility, not unlike flight itself, to lift people to new ways of seeing things, and to discovering new horizons of opportunity.
The response to our progress is gratifying; we’ve seen growth in the numbers of visitors, members, volunteers and donors. It gives us confidence to pursue the plans already underway to upgrade our Lowry facilities and to build an additional world-class facility at Centennial Airport.
Following are highlights of 2005 for Wings Over the Rockies, which bode well for our future.
Heritage with a purpose
If you haven’t made a visit to the museum recently, a number of new displays await you.
Five major exhibits were added to the museum experience. The Adam M-309 Rutan prototype and a Lear 24 are now on display outside the museum. Inside, the flying machine from the Disney film “Around the World in 80 Days” is suspended from the ceiling. The training suit from the first human to walk in space, Alexi Leonov, is now on display, as is a working mockup of an Apollo guidance computer.
Wings also made major improvements to existing exhibits. Outside, lights were added to the B-52 and exterior aircraft, providing an impressive sight to welcome evening visitors. Inside, the museum’s Christen Eagle and Pitts biplanes were suspended in aerobatic formation. In addition, volunteers restored several exhibits, such as an F-86, an SGS-2 glider and a walk-in DC-10 cockpit simulator.
Last year, the museum hosted a six-month temporary exhibition, the “Cold Warrior,” featuring the Francis “Gary” Powers U-2 incident.
Approximately 102,000 individuals enjoyed museum activities in 2005, including events participants.
Several hands-on programs in 2005 shared the heritage and potential of aerospace with young people.
Wings education programs served nearly 8,700 students in 2005, an increase of 85 percent over 2004. Many of these students participated in the “Fantasy of Flight,” the museum’s core onsite program.
A new presentation classroom and flight simulation lab, totaling 1,400 square feet, accommodated numerous programs; another 600-square-foot room was made available for overflow.
Wings opened its first-ever summer camp program, hosting young people for weeklong day camps. “Wild Blue Wonders” brought several area schools together for an exciting competition. In conjunction with Burt Rutan, the museum’s “Spreading Wings” award recipient, an aerospace design competition was held at Metro State, with more than 80 student teams competing from colleges all over Colorado.
Wings received a grant to develop an online learning program, called “Mission: Earth and Sky.” The program offers a promising outreach initiative for area schools. Other outreach programs were developed with youth organizations in the Denver area, such as Colorado Uplift, Shades of Blue, Civil Air Patrol, Junior ROTC and Lowry schools.
Aerospace comes to life
Highlight events in 2005 brought the inspiration of aerospace to thousands of people, inside and outside the museum.
The Spreading Wings Gala was its best ever, with the presentation of its prestigious award to renowned SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan. More than 800 guests enjoyed a star-studded evening.
More than 1,400 visitors flew, toured or observed the EAA B-17 Fuddy Duddy at Centennial Airport in June. Almost 100 volunteers provided more than 1,000 hours of their time to the activities, which included a hangar dance. Because of their efforts, Denver was recognized as Fuddy Duddy’s finest tour stop in the country.
A Wings Of Wonder (WOW) Special Events Series brought all kinds of people together for unique gatherings, from Tuskegee Airmen and veterans groups, to Lowry neighbors and holiday guests.
Monthly Wings Work Parties provided an educational opportunity for scores of volunteers. Aviation personalities often gave presentations at these events.
Some 94 corporate events brought 58,000 guests to the museum, for everything from sit-down dinners and professional entertainment, to youth birthday parties.
Our greatest asset
Wings Over the Rockies’ success in 2005 was made possible by people who make up its growing “family.”
Membership grew 122 percent, from 550 members in early November 2004, to 1,220 members in late 2005. Last year, 217 volunteers recorded over 28,000 hours of work, which would be the equivalent of nearly 14 fulltime employees.
Wings Over the Rockies added two professional staff members, a director of operations/curator and a director of education. Four outstanding community leaders joined the Wings Board, bringing with them education, diversity, aerospace technology and land development expertise.
New newsletters and flyers, sponsored by Adam Aircraft Industries, brought museum communications to a higher level.
Preliminary, un-audited figures for fiscal 2005 show total income of $1.478 million, an increase of 39 percent over the previous year. Revenue sources responsible for this increase include a major unrestricted monetary gift at yearend, an increase of 16 percent in corporate event revenues and an increase of 12 percent in net proceeds from the Spreading Wings Gala.
Please feel free to check out details in the annual report, available by telephone request to the museum (303-360-5360 x 110), or online at [http://www.wingsmuseum.org]. Better yet, become a Wings member or pay us a visit to experience our excitement firsthand.