Where stories of civilian and military and March Field come alive!
Where in Riverside can you stand next to a top secret aircraft that remains the fastest plane ever built? Or taste some of the meals soldiers ate in World War I? How about going to a birthday party in a plane? Or making a rocket that flies?
March Field Air Museum of course! Over 100,000 guests visit the museum annually and experience many of these things and more.
March Field Air Museum is a culture-based institution located next to the historic March Air Reserve Base at the eastern tip of the City of Riverside. The March Field Air Museum displays 72 historic aircraft on its 50 acre site and is the repository of 29,000 aviation artifacts which are exhibited on a rotating basis inside the museum’s two hangars.
Dedicated in 1979 it originally depicted the history of the air base from its founding in 1918 but has since expanded its vision. In the ensuing years the museum changed locations several times and in 1996 upon realignment of the March Air Force Base, the museum was turned over by the United States Air Force to the March Field Foundation to be run as a private, non-profit institution. The museum receives no federal funding to cover its operations which not only includes the site and the artifacts, but also a Restoration hangar where a team of specialized volunteers work to restore many of these “Proud Birds”.
Over the years the museum’s goals have evolved to reflect our region’s changing needs. Increasing public awareness of the continuing contributions of the March Air Reserve Base to the culture and economy of the Riverside community, preserving the rich military and aviation-related history of Riverside and educating the public in the continuously evolving fields of aviation and aerospace science are its current goals.
The museum is open six days a week to visitors and a typical visit may include an outdoor tram tour of the historic aircraft, a self-guided interior tour and informal exploration of the museum’s many static displays. Guests are greeted by knowledgeable docents (from a pool of 168 volunteers) and then are free to experience a variety of indoor displays which explore aviation in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. The newest permanent exhibit about the Race for Space will open this fall and feature over $32,000,000 of NASA Shuttle program artifacts.
Other areas of interest include:
Vietnam Era Firebase
National Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Memorial
War Dog Memorial - Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit
Combat Camera Exhibit - Women in Aviation Exhibit
Pearl Harbor Exhibit (includes video of our local Pearl Harbor survivors)
Some of our prized aircraft include:
SR-71A “Blackbird” - Grumman HU-16E Albatross
B-17G Flying Fortress - Boeing B-29A Superfortress
Consolidated PT-6A - Bell P-59A Airacomet
The museum created a buzz in the community in the last two years by completing its new Education Hangar in these tough economic times and becoming accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) an honor achieved by only 11 air and space museums in the USA.
The museum is run by a small but mighty staff of 9 employees. They know how to make a dollar STRETCH! However, we need more dollars to STRETCH! With the growth of the museum in the last five years our school visits have increased as well as tours for senior citizens and physically challenged individuals. More funding is also needed to provide additional state of the art exhibits for ongoing educational programs and to upgrade our aging facility infrastructure.
You may wonder how we get our money for operations? A combination of admission fees (we are trying to keep our fees affordable at $10 for adults, $5 youth), store sales, grants, special events, and sponsorships cover approximately 75% of our budget. We rely on the kindness of our friends, neighbors and strangers to make up the rest.
Won’t you consider donating to our future and the future of our children? A donation of even $10 will help. No gift will ever be too small.
Thank you for helping keep our history alive for future generations!