Located in Nampa, Idaho, the Warhawk Air Museum is a 40,000-square-foot museum dedicated to the history of American military culture and technology, featuring a collection airplanes and equipment from the major military conflicts of the 20th century, with a special emphasis on World War II.
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Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Operated as a nonprofit organization funded by private and individual donations, the Warhawk Air Museum serves as a cultural center for American veteran history, emphasizing the cultural, social, and technological changes and advancements that resulted from the major military conflicts of the 20th century. Exhibits chronicle the history of flight, from early innovations at the beginning of the 20th century through modern space flight, as well as the role of airplanes in major American conflicts, with a particular emphasis on World War II air flight. A large collection of personal artifacts, memorabilia, and anecdotes is displayed, illustrating the relationship between military personnel and American citizens and preserving the personal history of those who helped shape American history and freedoms through war service.
The museum contains an extensive collection of aircraft used in World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, including two of the only remaining Curtiss P-40 planes from the World War II era, the Parrot Head Curtiss P-40N Warhawk and the Sneak Attack Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk. The P-40, known as the foremost American fighter craft at the start of World War II, was noted for its service during the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941. At their peak of service, more than 14,000 P-40s were used by the militaries of more than 28 world nations, holding a battle reputation of extreme durability and ruggedness that often outmatched craft capable of higher speeds and more sophisticated maneuvering. The museum’s Warhawk and Kittyhawk planes have been fully restored to their original flying conditions and were used in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor.
Another rare World-War-II-era craft, the Boise Bee North American P-51C Mustang, was custom-painted by Lieutenant Colonel Duane W. Beeson, a five-time WWII Fighter Ace. A hybrid craft featuring an American airframe and a British Rolls-Royce engine, the P-51 Mustang was one of the most noted piston aircrafts of the World War II era. As one of a few surviving examples of the 1,750 P-51s commissioned, the museum’s craft was fully restored in 2010 and frequently competes in the Reno Air Races.
World War I aircraft include a replica of the Fokker DR-1 Triplane, nicknamed “The Blue Max,” which is associated today in popular culture with the character of the Red Baron. Two Vietnam-era Mikoyan Gurevitch fighter aircraft are displayed, the MiG-17 and MiG-21, the first Soviet aircraft to successfully combine fighter and interceptor characteristics. The “Bernie’s Bo” North American F-86F Sabre Jet, the first American swept wing fighter, is considered among the most important fighter aircraft of the Korean War. Other notable aircraft holdings include the all-metal-frame “Yellow Peril” Naval Aircraft Factory N3N, the Bell UH-1C “Mike” Model Huey Gunship, the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, and the Cold-War-era Lockheed F-104A Starfighter.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Museum tours are offered for small groups and organizations, requiring reservations at least two weeks in advance for docent-led tours. Field trips for students may be led by docents or teachers, utilizing self-guided tour brochures that tie museum exhibits to curriculum standards. Two age-appropriate scavenger hunt programs are offered for student groups, tailored to elementary and secondary students and providing opportunities for direct interaction with museum artifacts.
In addition to field trip opportunities, a number of workshop classes for students are held at the NASA Space Center and Warhawk Air Museum Educational Center. A Child’s Play course is offered for third through fifth graders, exploring the role that American children served in the community during World War II. For middle schoolers, a pilot-led Forces of Flight program incorporates physics principles to demonstrate aviation concepts, and a Bridging the Generations program for high schoolers offers opportunities to meet veterans from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. A course on the history of the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance is also offered.
The Warkhawk Air Museum’s Veterans History Project, developed in cooperation with the Library of Congress, strives to collect personal stories from service members from all branches of the American military, along with the stories of civilian workers who supported the Armed Forces during 20th century conflicts. A book anthology of interview excerpts is available at the museum’s gift shop, with all proceeds supporting future endeavors by the project. A free Kilroy Coffee Klatch program also meets on the first Tuesday of every month, offering community discussions for area veterans to recall their service experiences, and a Veteran’s Day Breakfast features entertainment by the Top Fun Flyers.
201 Municipal Way, Nampa, ID 83687, Phone: 208-465-6446