“I started as a library volunteer back in 2006. One afternoon a gentleman came in asking for material on World War II B-29 missions. When I asked for more details, the man said his older brother had been a B-29 navigator in the summer of 1945. The aircraft was forced to ditch after taking on enemy fire, and the man's brother was one of the survivors who were later taken to a prisoner of war camp. By using the brother's aircraft's nose art name and squadron number, I was able to find out which POW camp he was held in. Sadly, he died at that camp before the end of the war. For the next 15 minutes, the gentleman read through the information I found. I then offered to show him our B-29. I let him climb into the navigator's station, and he stared in silence at that area for several minutes, then climbed back down. Through tears he shook my hand and said, 'Thank you for keeping these memories alive." And that is why I volunteer at NEAM.”
- Thomas Morehouse, NEAM Library Volunteer
The New England Air Museum strives to have each and every visitor that enters the building leave having a stronger connection to the aviation history we present. From the very young to the young at heart, the volunteers and staff work to teach as well as learn from our visitors, who all have varying degrees of knowledge and connection with the aircraft on display.
Some leave having learned a new interesting fact, others leave dreaming of becoming a pilot or engineer. Others are able to connect to the displays in ways we could never imagine. Whether it is the gasps from school groups seeing the B-29 for the first time, or the elderly pilots showing off the type of aircraft they flew to their children and grandchildren, the New England Air Museum leaves an impact on those who enter.
Docent Carl Cruff and Restoration Volunteer Thomas Palshaw share some meaningful experiences interacting with visitors, including the photo on the right.