Fort Smith Air Museum History

History of the Fort Smith Air Museum

The Fort Smith Air Museum was the vision of Wayne Haver, Carl Riggins, and Ralph Freeman. The museum was chartered by the State of Arkansas on August 26, 1999 and received an IRS Code 501(c)3 tax status on February 22, 2000. In July 2000 the museum received a $10,000.00 grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation that allowed it to get started purchasing aviation artifacts.

In September, 2000, the air museum opened in Central Mall, on Rogers Avenue, in a vacant store provided free of charge by the management of Central Mall. One month later, the space was leased in October 2000 and the air museum moved to Phoenix Village Mall on Towson Avenue in Fort Smith. Jewell Morris and Howard Gentry, owners of the mall, provided a vacant store area to house the museum in November, 2000.

In September 2002,the Fort Smith Air Museum relocated to the new Fort Smith Regional Airport Terminal when it was completed. There are now sixty-four display cases honoring pioneer and military aviators from western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. The display cases are located across from the American Eagle and Delta ticket counters, near the main entrance, and by the Baggage Claim area.

The air museum also has a Piper J-3 "Cub", on loan from Ann Weaver of Roland, Oklahoma, previously hanging in the main entrance to Central Mall on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith, but now in storage.

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