Searching for Humanity: Veterans, Victims, and Survivors of World War II
This is a unique and moving exhibit that asks its audience to consider the search for humanity during the Holocaust and to reflect on man’s obligation to humankind. Nationally-known artist, Matthew Placzek, sets an affecting environment with photos, memorabilia, and testimony of Nebraska Holocaust survivors, soldiers, and those whose courageous actions liberated prisoners from concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe. Upon entering the exhibit, an emotional journey unfolds for visitors as the images chronicle remarkable personal experiences of confronting one of the most inhumane periods in our world’s history.
The Heartland Astronaut
The Heartland Astronaut exhibit highlights the rise of Clayton Anderson, an Ashland, NE native, who used his determination and passion for science and space to propel him through the NASA astronaut training program. When his number was called, Clayton traveled aboard Shuttle Mission STS-117 to the International Space Station in the summer of 2007. Clay recently completed Shuttle Mission STS-131 this year. This exhibit outlines his early life in Nebraska, as well as the intense training undertaken prior to his launch. Artifacts include flight suits, a flown shuttle tire, and cameras used by Gemini astronaut, Wally Schirra.
Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders
This exhibit celebrates the memory of lifelong Lincoln, NE native, Richard Joyce, who took part in the 1942 attack on Tokyo, led by Jimmy Doolittle. After the disastrous events of December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, the United States military pushed for a retaliatory strike on Tokyo. Though many said it could not be done, Lt Col. Doolittle managed to devise a plan that took 16 Army Air Force B-25 bombers from the deck of the USS Hornet.
9th Air Force
During World War II the mission of the 9th Air Force was to gain air superiority, deny the enemy an ability to replenish or replace losses, and offer close air support for the troops on the ground. This display highlights some of the missions undertaken by these brave men, as well as showcasing some of the equipment utilized in this endeavor.
Vietnam Memorial Wall
In honor of those who fought and died in service to their country during the Vietnam War, the “Individual Reflections from the Wall” exhibit displays photographs, letters and personal mementos left at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.
The Linebacker II display outlines the men and machines of the U.S. Seventh Air Force and U.S. Navy Task Force 77 that took part in the bombing missions on Haiphong and Hanoi, North Vietnam during the last two weeks of December 1972. Here B-52 bombers flew large numbers of attack missions as a means of bringing the North Vietnamese government back to the table for peace talks.
Martin Bomber Plant
One of the primary elements of American victory in WWII was the use of heavy bombers. The Strategic Air and Space museum commemorates one of the most productive heavy bomber plants, the Martin Bomber Plant, at what is now Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. It was here that both atomic bombers Enola Gay and Bockscar were manufactured. Highlighted are detailed models of the plant, as well as original wooden floor bricks, tools, and an engine piston from the bomber Enola Gay.