The Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum is a museum and aviation-based educational center dedicated to exploring the history of aviation in New Jersey, the military and the Second World War. Located at the Cape May Airport, inside the historic Hangar #1, which was used as a dive-bomber squadron training facility during World War II, the Aviation Museum houses several decommissioned aircraft, engines, educational interactive displays, and special exhibits.



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History

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is housed at the Cape May Airport, which was originally built by the U.S. Navy in 1941 during the Second World War. The airport operated as an active naval installation throughout the war that focused on training operations for Naval Aviators in dive bombers, torpedo bombers, and fighter aircraft. Following the end of World War II, the airfield was converted to a civilian airport.

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in the airport's Hangar #1, designed in the typical aircraft hangar layout used by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum features an impressive collection of aircraft from the Second World War, as well as more recent vintage military aircraft from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the post-Cold War period.

Exhibits

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum features a variety of exhibits and display areas, ranging from Jet Aircraft and Airplanes to Helicopters and Engines on Display. There is also an Interactive Displays area and Special Exhibits, as well as the NASW Library.

The Jet Aircraft Exhibit features aircraft such as an F-14 Tomcat, a MiG-15, an F-16 Fighting Falcon, a T-33 Shooting Star and T-33 Thunderbird, an A-4 Skyhawk, an F-5E Tiger II, and a V-2 Rocket. The Airplanes Exhibit showcases a variety of vintage airplanes from the TBM-Avenger and PT-17 Boeing-Stearman to the OE-2 Bird Dog and Vultee BT-13 Valiant.

Featured helicopters in the Helicopters Exhibit include the A18 Air & Space Gyrocopter, the AH-1 Cobra, the HH 52-A Helicopter, the OH 6 – Cayuse, the AH-1 Cobra, the UH-1 Huey Helicopter, and the McCullogh J2 Gyrocopter.

The Museum encourages hands-on learning through several interactive exhibits and displays such as ‘All Available Boats’ where visitors can look at photos and listen to first-hand accounts of people who responded and participated in the evacuation of Manhattan during the 9-11 tragedy.

Bader Field Air Traffic Control Tower is an authentic air traffic control tower from Atlantic City’s Bader Field where visitors can climb up the tower and listen to real air traffic chatter and try their hand at being an air traffic controller. The Science Of Flight and Simulator Games exhibits offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the science of flight without leaving the ground and try flying an aircraft in a flight simulator.

Special Exhibits

Special Exhibit areas in the Museum include the 1940s Room, which recreates a typical house during the Second World War and features an assortment of household artifacts and items.

The Coast Guard Area honors the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May and the rich history of Coast Guard presence in South Jersey and features a 41' patrol boat, an HH-52A Seaguard helicopter, the All Available Boats exhibit, and a C-130 simulator game.

The Radio Room features a variety of 1940s-era radios and other communication devices used in the Second World War, along with artifacts and objects that tell the story of how messages were relayed during the war.

Education

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum offers a variety of educational programs and camps for learners of all ages, ranging from the ACE Academy, Explorers Academy and the Lazowski Scholarship to summer camps, Youth Education and more. The ACE Academy Summer Camp features a variety of aviation-based activities and educational projects, such as a ‘Travel Through Space’ presentation by NASA Astronaut Dr. Terry Hart, a tour of the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower and US Coast Guard Base, a visit and demonstration of the Federal Air Marshal Training Center, a tour of the FAA Technical Center Labs and scheduled “Fly-Ins” from the US Navy, US Army, NJ State Police, AtlantiCare Medivac and US Coast Guard.

Visitor Information

The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located at the Cape May Airport on Forrestal Road in Cape May and is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. The Hangar Café is a quaint space decorated with vintage Coca-Cola memorabilia that serves a limited menu of drinks, snacks, and light meals.

500 Forrestal Road, Cape May Airport, Rio Grande, NJ 08242,website, Phone: 609-886-8787

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