Picture of Aircraft at the Air Zoo in Michigan

Air Zoo Blog

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What's Up at the Air Zoo?

(besides aircraft and space artifacts)

We always have fun and exciting things to share with you.  Please check back often for exhibit information and openings, event details, special Air Zoo visitors, educationand  program announcements and soooo much more!

Media contact:
Nikki Statler, Director of Marketing
nstatler@airzoo.org  |  269.350.2811

Because of Her Story - Live Streaming Event

Join Portage City Mayor, Patricia Randall , as she hosts a special Air Zoo evening with Dorothy Cochran , Curator for the General Aviation Aeronautics Department for the National Air and Space Museum. We are excited to host this immersive and enlightening, Smithsonian, virtual event. This event is part of a national initiative called Because of Her Story.  We hope you will join us, free of charge, as we dig into the exciting work of Dorothy Cochran, and learn more about... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Mar 1, 2021
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The Wright Sister

When leaving their mark on aviation innovation heritage, the Wright brothers did not act alone. A woman helped make their legacy possible.  In 1909, World magazine called the Wright brothers’ younger sister, Katharine, “the American Girl Whom All Europe is Watching.” Katharine Wright served her brothers as a silent partner. Without asking for notoriety, Katharine assisted with experiments, kept her... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Mar 1, 2021
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Honoring Black History Month at the Air Zoo - Mae Jemison

Mae C. Jemison   Born in Decatur Alabama in 1956, Mae Jemison moved with her family to Chicago, Illinois at age 3. As a child, Mae loved to dance and could be found in her school library in the science section thumbing through books about astronomy. While she watched and took interest in the news and broadcasts surrounding NASA’s Apollo Space Program, Mae felt disappointed by the absence of women astronauts. Mae appreciated what she saw in the role... Read More
at Monday, Feb 1, 2021
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Honoring Black History Month at the Air Zoo - Willa Brown

Willa Brown   Willa Beatrice Brown (1906-1992) made history two years in a row as the first black woman in America to earn a pilot’s license in 1938, immediately followed by a commercial flight license in 1939. She also made history when she became the first black woman commissioned as a U.S. Civil Air Patrol lieutenant in Illinois. Her ambitions also led Willa to run for office, which made her the first black woman to run for United States... Read More
at Monday, Feb 1, 2021
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Honoring Black History Month at the Air Zoo - Ida Van Smith

Ida Van Smith (1917-2003)  Born in Lumberton, North Carolina, Ida Van Smith taught history and special education in New York City Public Schools after pursuing her undergraduate degree from Shaw University and her master’s degree from Queens College.   In 1967, Ida made a dream come true at age 50 when she learned to fly! She applied her gift of teaching skills to aviation when she earned both her private pilot’s license and instructor... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Feb 1, 2021
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Honoring Black History Month at the Air Zoo - Robert Clare Chandler

From Michigan to Tuskegee to Local Hero  Let's kick things off with Michigan’s Robert Clare Chandler (1922-2004). Clare earned his wings through the experimental black pilots’ program at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. Some expected the program to fail, but the Tuskegee program proved successful. Clare served as part of that success.   One of five children born and raised in Allegan, Clare found his... Read More
at Monday, Feb 1, 2021
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Air Zoo Tops the Charts on MIOSHA COVID Safety Visit

As we navigate the unknown and do our best to plan for both safety and growth, the Air Zoo recently participated in a voluntary program with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) to assess the COVID-19 safety protocols, processes, and procedures across every square inch of our buildings. The visit, which took place on Tuesday, December 29, 2020, took 3 hours and included the following: Review of the categorization of jobs into appropriate risk... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Jan 11, 2021
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Seeing Stars!

At the Air Zoo, we talk a lot about heavenly bodies and stars, and this story is no different—except that these stars could be found on the silver screen! Movie stars played vital roles during World War II (1939-1945), such as starring in films which gave Americans a glimpse into the war or just the opposite—took their minds off it for a little while. Some stars helped promote desired wartime behavior, such as proper safety precautions for defense plant workers. After... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Dec 30, 2020
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2020 Employee and Volunteer Awards

It is with great pride and appreciation that we announce our 2020 Employee of the Year and 2020 Volunteer of the Year  award winners: Erin Lewis and John Seward.  Erin Lewis, Empolyee of the Year Erin has always been a rock star (especially when she teaches geology) here at the Air Zoo during her seven-year tenure, but her impact on her team and the Air Zoo as a whole in 2020 has certainly reached a new level. She came to the Air Zoo with many foundational qualities and... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Friday, Dec 11, 2020
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Shaba Arrives This Week!

The Air Zoo is proud to announce the arrival of their newest aircraft.  Over the last eight days, Air Zoo President & CEO, Troy Thrash, along with a crew of dedicated transportation specialists, embarked upon a journey of 1,940 miles to bring the aerospace and science center's new aircraft home to the Air Zoo, located in Portage, MI. This new plane is a stealth fighter, a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, Tail #817, and nicknamed Shaba . “I really can’t believe the time... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Monday, Dec 7, 2020
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A Christmas Hero Premieres!

Hot off the presses! December 8th marks a very exciting day for us at the Air Zoo - A Christmas Hero, filmed mostly at the Air Zoo in 2019, will hit the US on DVD and many Video on Demand (VOD) platforms. This movie, which debuted in the U.K. on November 23rd, depicts a young disillusioned war vet named Nick (Michael Welch), recently home from Afghanistan. As Nick finds himself struggling with depression and despair, a visit from his guardian angel (Lauren Rys... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020
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Building a Model

As many prepare for the winter weather and the holidays, your Air Zoo Exhibits and Collections departments are also busy working on exhibits for 2021. One of those new exhibits will explore the history of and give guests a look into a model aircraft and spacecraft building. America’s fascination with aviation rose right along with Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first aircraft. When Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic in 1927, businesses including the Cleveland Model &... Read More
Posted by Nikki Statler at Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020
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