When core supporters of the Greater Fort Wayne Aviation Museum gathered Tuesday afternoon to talk about the museum's future, it was more an overture than an announcement.
Jeffrey Soldner, formerly the commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard and soon to be president of the museum, spoke with reporters in the terminal of Fort Wayne International Airport. That's where he hopes the museum will one day be relocated, when airport-terminal expansion frees up some space on the first floor of the terminal.
For years, the museum has been housed mainly in storage and in display cases on the second floor of the museum, where only ticketed passengers can see it. Soldner and other supporters of the collection of more than 1,000 aviation artifacts would like to see the exhibits relocated so that more people can see them.
But much is still undetermined in their desire to make the collection more accessible. He said that the museum group is just beginning to develop a plan and strategy for the future of the exhibits. They don't know how much relocating and freshening the exhibits would cost. And they're not sure how long it will be until the airport expands, providing a new home; Soldner's guess is three to five years.
In the meantime, he said, he hopes that community partners might be found to provide more open venues for exhibits. He mentioned Smith Field, on the north side of Fort Wayne, and The History Center, downtown, as possibilities.