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NH's History of Flight Celebrated at Aviation Museum

By Kelly Church

Built to celebrate the rich history of aviation in New Hampshire, the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire welcomes and educates the community on all aspects of flight. The museum features people, places, events and artifacts that relate to the state's aviation history, including Charles Lindbergh who had a historic flight over what would become the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

During World War II, the area was a U.S. Army Air Force base and when the war ended, Alan Shepard began cleaning out airport hangars. All he wanted in return were flight lessons. He later became the first American in space. 

"Our state has made significant contributions to the aviation history of America, and the world," Jessica Pappathan, Executive Director, says. "Education is among our top priorities." 

The museum has a special aviation education high school course for juniors and seniors in the area. Classes are held at the museum two days a week from September to June. Exeter, Londonderry and Manchester school districts offer their students full credit for attending the course, designed to expose students to potential careers in aviation. The program is fully funded by the museum through grants and donations. 

"Through an inquiry-based education model, math and sciences come to life as students study the six modules of NASA's Virtual Skies curriculum: aeronautics, navigation, weather, air traffic control, communication and airport design," Pappathan says. "This course is supplemented with guest speakers, field trips and hands-on projects." 

For the younger kids, the museum has a kindergarten through eighth grade outreach program. This program is brought to schools by the museum staff and presents information on flying through videos, interactive demonstrations, hands-on activities and more. Pappathan says it combines fun and aviation education in one in the classroom. 

Additionally, throughout the year the museum hosts events for the community to enjoy. Families can come to the museum for storytime, activities, movie nights and art shows. Guest speakers also come for presentations throughout the year. Coming up, the museum is hosting a presentation and book signing with Gary Powers, Jr. Powers is the son of Francis Gary Powers, a survivor of a U-2 spy plane that was shot down during the Cold War. There will also be an Easter egg hunt inside the museum on Saturday, April 15, celebrating Easter. 

Admission to the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2.50 for children aged 12 to 16 and free for kids under 12. However, the maximum price for a family to attend is $15, encouraging families to come together. The museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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