Fundraising After the Tornado, 1980


“I’m sorry that the museum got dimolished. I saw it Saturday. I was so sad I started to cry.
We used to go up there often. But now it’s all crashed up to peises.
I’ll never forget the Bradley Air Museum.

Sincerely,
Robert C.

P.S. Here is some money to help rebuild it better than ever!"

- Letter from a young visitor, NEAM News Vol. 19 no. 3, Fall 1979 (with original spelling)

The physical devastation of the tornado came hand in hand with financial issues for the Bradley Air Museum. Recovering from the tornado required substantial money, and revenue from visitors was severely cut due to the damage. BAM sought different ways of fundraising the money needed to get the museum back on its feet.

One method was the “Bucks for Bradley” telethon held on November 25,1979 by WTNH Channel 8, New Haven. The telethon was hosted by Channel 8’s Dick Bertel, and included many different personalities such as Nikolai Sikorsky and Igor Sikorsky Jr., two sons of aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky. Several tornado items were also auctioned off to raise money. The telethon ultimately raised $75,000 for the Bradley Air Museum, with the largest donation of $25,000 coming from United Technologies.

Another large fundraiser occurred on June 1, 1980, with the first Antique Car Show. The show was to benefit the Museum’s Recovery Fund, and had the largest attendance the museum had seen. The event was attended by over 10,000, with 1,000 antique cars shown on the property. The event turned into a recurring one, and the museum often holds car shows to this day.


 
 

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