WICHITA — The expertise of the Cosmosphere SpaceWorks team at Hutchinson will be on display at the new B-29 Doc Hangar and Education Center in Wichita when the new facility opens to the public for the first time on Jan. 26. Doc’s Friends, the organization that owns and operates the B-29 known as “Doc,” will host an open house and dedication ceremony from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26. The new 32,000-square-foot facility is located at Eisenhower National Airport.
A combination of working hangar for the aircraft and a hands-on educational facility, visitors to the B-29 Doc Hangar will have the opportunity to watch technicians maintain one of two operational B-29s in existence. Additionally, visitors will experience stories and artifacts related to World War II and the restoration of Doc, a process which was 16 years in the making and took more than 100 volunteers 450,000 hours to complete.
The Cosmosphere was contracted to help with the design and layout of the visitors’ and education center portion of the new facility, including historic exhibits, assembly of the artifact cases and creation of coinciding educational curriculum.
Josh Wells is a member of Doc’s Friends, the organization that oversees volunteer efforts and fundraising for the aircraft. Wells said that in planning the facility, the group realized the need for help to showcase the legacy of the B-29, and thought of the Cosmosphere.
“We knew we wanted this to be more than a ‘museum’; we wanted visitors to truly be engaged,” said Wells. “We wanted people to see and touch and learn about these heroes — both the war heroes and the heroes of this project, our volunteers — and we knew the Cosmosphere could take that vision and make it a reality.”
“It’s very humbling to give the volunteers, the war heroes and Doc a home and to be able to showcase this work, as only it could be done here in the ‘Air Capital of the World’,” Wells added.