HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM

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The Stafford Air & Space Museum began with a simple display case in the Weatherford Airport terminal and has grown to become one of the premier educational attractions in Western Oklahoma! The museum has worked closely with the Smithsonian Institution, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force Museum to assemble one of the finest collections of aerospace artifacts in the central United States.

The Stafford Air & Space Museum was built in 1993. The idea of a display started in the late 1970’s as a 6 ft. case with a few of General Stafford’s items featured in the original lobby of the Weatherford airport. In 1993, the first 2 rooms of the museum were built.  Six expansions and 63,000 sq. ft. later, the last addition was completed in 2020. This expansion has enabled hundreds of additional historical artifacts to be brought out of storage for display and has provided the space necessary for future growth of the museum.

 

The museum is named in honor of famed test pilot and astronaut Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford. Stafford was born in 1930 and raised in Weatherford, OK. His mother came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon and lived to see her only child fly to the moon. Stafford was selected by NASA in the second group of astronauts in 1962, but his career includes a lifetime of air and space experience.

He would fly 4 historic space missions (Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo-Soyuz), three of them as mission Commander. For his efforts as Joint Commander of the U.S. and Soviet Apollo-Soyuz mission, Stafford received a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Stafford is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, and the Oklahoma Aviator of the Century award.

Named a Smithsonian Affiliate in 2011, the museum houses over 63,000 sq. ft. of exhibits under one roof and showcases thousands of items representing the evolution of aviation and spaceflight. Examples include:

  1. An actual Titan II rocket

  2. General Stafford's actual-flown Apollo 10 pressure suit

  3. Museum-quality, full-scale replicas of an Apollo Command & Service Module and Lunar Module

  4. Actual F-1 Engine Turbine Wheels from Apollo 11

  5. An actual F-1 engine from the Saturn V

  6. General Stafford's actual-flown Gemini VI-A spacecraft

  7. An actual-flown Shuttle Main Engine

  8. An actual-flown segment of a Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster

Aircraft displays include:

  1. An actual Sopwith Pup

  2. An actual F-86 Sabre, T-33 Shooting Star, T-38 Talon, A-10 Warthog, and F-16 Fighting Falcon

  3. A rare and actual MIG-21

  4. Full-scale, museum-quality, replicas of the Wright Flyer, Bleriot and Spirit of St. Louis

Situated just outside the museum’s front entrance, one of the most revolutionary aircraft ever built, the Lockheed F-104 “Starfighter,” points majestically six stories straight up into the sky! The museum’s outdoor display has become an iconic monument for the region.

The museum has been named a Blue Star Museum which means all active-duty military receive FREE admission to the museum from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day.

The museum is a 501 (c ) 3 nonprofit organization, and operated by the City of Weatherford, Oklahoma.

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Actual Titan II Rocket and Actual Flown Gemini 6 Spacecraft 

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What a Treat This Stop Was!

What a treat this stop was! My husband is a space geek and between the east level parking spots, other equally enthusiastic HH members and right off 40 I had already made a great pick. He came out of the museum like a kid because it was the same day as the Blue Origin successful maiden voyage and there was an enthusiastic group at the museum. Well done team!

August 2021 Harvest Host Member Mary Ann S.