Air Museum ready to land at new home

Members of the Pendleton Air Museum board, Mark Dickey, Harper Jones II, Bob Stangier and Bill Mayclin, stand in front of the building that will house their first museum.

After nearly seven years in existence, the Pendleton Air Museum has found a building to call its own.

"We have, for years, been looking for a building," said museum board member Bill Mayclin. "This just sort of fell in our lap."

Around the beginning of the month, Randy Thomas of A Sharp Painters told the group they could use part of his building on Airport Hill.

Thomas was out of town until next week and unavailable for the article.

But air museum board members had plenty to say about his contribution.

"He's a very community-oriented person," Mayclin said. "He does a lot for the city of Pendleton."

Thomas is allowing the air museum to use the building but the museum will have to pay its own utilities, said Board Member Bob Stangier.

The building dates back to World War II era, said Harper Jones II, president of the Pendleton Air Museum board. The inside holds an air-hanger-like atmosphere with bracings criss-crossing the ceiling and sturdy boards lining the floor.

"You could drive a truck in here, the floor is not going to give," Mayclin said with a laugh.

It's a good fit for the air museum's goals which include education about Pendleton's role in World War II and other wars and preserving artifacts from the town's World War II base.

The building is already housing a few of the air museum's artifacts, including an old Link Trainer - an airplane-shaped training machine complete with all the instruments World War II pilots used to learn to fly.

"It was hard work," said Stangier, looking at the old machines.

The rest of the space inside is filled with building supplies, cabinets and doors, all of which Jones said Thomas donated to the group. It intends to have a rummage sale to get rid of the items it can't use and raise funds to install the museum's exhibits. Stangier said the sale is set for Feb. 29 and March 1.

Once the museum is ready to go, the board members said they expect it to act as a tourist attraction and educational experience for Pendleton.

Jones said he and other members envision the building housing a main gallery, a small office space, a gift shop, a storage room and a workspace where items may be worked on or restored.

The artifacts will include everything from the Link Trainer to old instruments to soldiers' uniforms to official documents. There is even the promise of a World War II 4x4 truck that may sit outside the building if they can't fit it inside.

The air museum currently has about 24 members and Jones said they plan to petition for more as they begin work on the building.

The board will work out an exact timetable on when the museum will be renovating and opening at its annual meeting in February.

Jones said he hopes this building will be the first step for the evolution of the Pendleton Air Museum.

"This is going to be a great first facility," he said. "We want to get this up and running so people say, 'this is a great museum.' "

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