Museum Success Stories

Museum Announces Achievements Over 18-Month Period




MAJOR AWARD—Inducted into Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame, Honored with Spirit of Flight Award, May 2016.

 RECENT CELEBRATIONS—Supported 50th Anniversary of Gemini Space Flights at Missouri Aviation Historical Society.


  • Co-hosted  “Young Eagle” Flights with Gateway Eagles and EAA Chapter 64 on Six Weekends.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibits to Gateway to Space Development Conference.
  • Displayed Material at Selvidge Middle School in support of STEM Program.
  • Hosted Various Visiting Groups Including United Flying Octogenarians, Central Institute for the Deaf, Army/Navy Heritage Foundation, Cahokia Chamber of Commerce, Cahokia Head Start, SAFECON Region VI, Women in Aviation, and Navigators USA.
  • Continued with Artifact Loans to Missouri History Museum and St. Louis Science Center.
  • Continued Cooperative Activities with The Aero Experience, Missouri Aviation Historical Society, Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum, and Aviation Archives.
  • Established an e-Newsletter for Member/Public Distribution.
  • Teamed with SLU/Parks to Assist With Scout Merit Badges By Providing Flight Simulators.


  • Major Work on Replica 1910 Demoiselle by EAA 64 and Gateway Area Ultralight Assoc.
  • Cabin Air Conditioning for the Howard Hughes Lockheed JetStar.
  • Continuing work on the Cutaway R3350 Engine.


  • Large Collections of Books, Photos, Slides (more than 6000).  Includes Original Material on Construction of Curtiss-Steinberg (St. Louis Downtown) Airport.
  • Original Paintings.
  • Various Aviation Patches/Stickers/Miscellany.
  • Aircraft Equipment.


  • Historic/Extinct Aviation Fields of Greater St. Louis.
  • Histories of Greater St. Louis Airplane Development.
  • Digitizing Photos/Documents for On-line Access.
  • Contribute content to history of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport book project.

 ARCHIVE CATALOGING—Additional 1600 Items Cataloged Using “Past Perfect” Software Provided With Grant from Ameren Illinois.  Total Cataloged Items Now Nearly 3300.

Special thanks to Museum Curator Emeritus Jack Abercrombie for compiling this list of achievements.


Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Receives Spirit of Flight Award, Induction Into Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame

The Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame held the 2016 Banquet and Induction Ceremonies Thursday at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale’s Transportation Education Center.  Among the inductees this year is the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, a recipient of the Spirit of Flight Award for the museum’s contributions to the Metro East IL and St. Louis metropolitan areas.  The museum has made many positive contributions to local and regional communities through the conservation of the area’s aviation history and the numerous educational and community events held there each year.  The museum also received the AIAA St. Louis Civic Service Award in 2013.

Criteria for the Spirit of Flight Award:

•Awarded annually to an organization that has made a substantial contribution to aviation in Illinois

•The organization’s activities must be Illinois based and continuous over a long period of time

•The organization’s member activities must be above and beyond that of normal paid employment and exhibit a high degree of excellence in their accomplishment
Significance of the Spirit of Flight Award:
Election to the Illinois Aviation Hall Of Fame is the highest honor that can be attained by people whose principal aviation activity and experience is Illinois based. It is awarded to people of good character for their excellence over a period of time. All of those selected have participated in community service, which reflects the character that earns IAHOF honors.


Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Chosen for Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, located at historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, IL, has been selected to receive the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame 2016 Spirit of Flight Award.  The museum is being recognized for its service to the community through preservation of Metro East IL aviation history, education programs supporting local schools and Scouting groups, active Young Eagles program with local EAA Chapter 64, and other aviation activities promoted and executed through the volunteer staff.  The museum is honored to receive the highest honor afforded by the Illinois aviation community, and will continue to serve the greater St. Louis and Metro East Illinois communities with ever greater enthusiasm and purpose.

The Awards Banquet and Induction Ceremonies will be held May 5 at the Southern Illinois University – Carbondale Transportation Education Center at Southern Illinois Airport.

Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Is Active Community Resource



Prepared by Jack Abercrombie, Curator Emeritus 



  • Birthday Celebration—102 Years—for “Chub” Wheeler—Museum Founder, Pilot, Flight Instructor.
  • Restoration and Public Unveiling of 67 Year-Old McDonnell XP-85 “Goblin” Wind Tunnel Test Model.
  • Restoration and Public Unveiling of Mr. McDonnell’s Factory Golf Cart (used to transport President Kennedy during his 1962 visit to the McDonnell factory)—Restored with the help of a Boeing Employee Community Fund (ECF) Grant.
  • Independence Day week with the EAA AirVenture B-17 “Aluminum Overcast”—The Museum Assisted the Local EAA Chapter 64 in the Celebration.
  • Fly-In and Open House.
  • Participation in the Retirement Party for Airport Director, Bob McDaniel, After 13 Years on the Job.   (Welcome to the new Director, Erick Dahl, was part of the program).


  • Participated in “Careers on the Move” at Mudd Elementary   School in O’Fallon, MO.
  • Participated in Cessna Aircraft Demo Day at Air Associates of Missouri, Spirit Airport.
  • Hosted StL Biplane Rides in a 1941 Open Cockpit Waco Biplane.
  • Co-Hosted the Youth Gateway to Aviation Day Sponsored by EAA Chapter 64, Parks College,  Wicks Aircraft and Motor Sports, etc.
  • Co-Hosted Several Hundred Local Boy Scouts During the Scout Aviation Day in Cooperation with Parks College and Ideal Aviation.
  • Participated in Aviation Day at the St. Louis Science Center.
  • Participated in Midwest Aviation and Conference and Trade Show (MACTS) in Maryland Heights, MO.
  • Co-Hosted “Young Eagles” Flights in Cooperation with EAA Chapter 64.
  • Hosted Several Local Elementary and Middle School Student Group Visits.
  • Hosted Two McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Retiree Group Visits.
  • Co-Hosted a Benefit Event in support of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Fisher House in Cooperation with Brian Kissinger Ministries and EAA Chapter 64.
  • Supported the Visit of the EAA Ford Trimotor Visit to Downtown Airport.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibit for the Missouri Pilots Association 60th Anniversary Convention in Booneville, MO.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibit for the IPMS Model Show.
  • Provided Traveling Exhibit for the Airport Open House at Vance Airport in Fredericktown, MO.
  • Participated in the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MoAHS)—Programs, Research, Images from Museum Archives.
  • Performed Research for the MoAHS Lambert Field History Project (for a book to be published celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lambert Field).
  • New/Continuing Loans of Artifacts to Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Science Center,  Southwestern Illinois Community College,  Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis Aerospace Institute.
  • Speakers Provided for Boeing Employee Flying Club, a McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Retiree Group, and other organizations.
  • Participated in Aviation Roundtable in Columbia, MO.


  • Received Grant from Ameren Illinois–$15,000 for Computing Software/Hardware to be used for Archive Cataloging.
  • Received Civic Service Award from the AIAA St. Louis Section.


  • Full Restoration completed on both Link Trainers—one from the World War 2 era and one from the Cold War era.  Work Performed by Volunteer Effort led by Doug Bent and Mike Scruggs.
  • Mr. McDonnell’s Golf Cart (used to transport President Kennedy around the factory in 1962) Fully Restored with the Help of a $4700 Grant from the Boeing ECF Fund with Work Performed by North Town Auto Body with the Assistance of Master Auto Care, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Village Locksmith, all in Collinsville, IL.
  • The 1946 McDonnell “Goblin” XP-85 Wind Tunnel Model was Restored by Volunteer Greg Downen.
  • Plans Being Formulated for the Cosmetic Restoration of the Lockheed “JetStar” and the Stinson “Reliant.”
  • Plans in Work for Restoration of the Meyers “OTW” 1941 Biplane.
  • Bi-State Performed a Structural Assessment of the Historic Hangar 2.


  • Colonel Schrecengest Collection of Art Work Depicting the  RF-101 “Voodoo” Record Setting “Operation Sun Run” of 1957.   Donors—Ed and Cynthia nee Schrecengest Miller.
  • Art Davies, Jr. Collection of Photos, Models, and Other Museum and McDonnell Aircraft Memorabilia.  Donor—Mary Davies.
  • Scrapbook with Astronaut Autographs plus those of other NASA and McDonnell      Officials.  Donor—Rose Church, “Nurse of the Astronauts.” (Actually occurred  late October 2012—just five days before her death).
  • Stinson Reliant, 1943 V-77 (non-flyable).  Donor—Family of John Johnson, well known aviator of southern Illinois and the St. Louis region.
  • A. Paul  Vance Collection of Photographs, Models, etc.  Donor—Family of A. Paul Vance,  Navy Aviator, Monsanto Corporate Pilot, as well as many other achievements.  (Actually occurred December 2012).
  • Photograph      Collection (More than 160) of Dave Ostrowski.  (Actually occurred December 2012).
  • F-4 Phantom History Manuscript. Donor/Author—Bill Elmore.
  • Miscellaneous Items from many individual donors including the Museum of Transportation, Jefferson Barracks, Lambert Airport, etc.


  • Historic Aviation Fields (Shiloh, Kinloch, Washington Park, Broadway, Kratz).
  • Parks College World  War 2 History.
  • Lambert Field.
  • Local Historic Aviators.

LIBRARY COLLECTION:  The Museum’s collections are comprised of approximately 200,000 objects, artifacts, art, photographs, research materials and memorabilia. The collections now include 150,000 slides, negatives and photos with the recent acquisition of the Robert Burgess collection (85,000 slides, negatives and prints and another 1,000 books and periodicals) and previous acquisitions such as the F-4 Phantom II Society archives and the William Peake and A. Paul Vance collections. In addition, the Museum has more than 4,000 books as well about 8,000 periodicals.  Our McAir aircraft documents collections numbers approximately 7,000 pieces. In addition, we have two letters signed by Charles Lindbergh and four individual pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright.


Museum Receives Grant from Ameren Illinois for Installation of New Archive System

Ameren Illinois presented the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, located at historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2 at St. Louis Downtown Airport, with a $15,000 check to fund a the installation of a new archive computer system.  Richard Mark, President and CEO of Ameren Illinois, visited the museum today to deliver the award to museum representatives at a ceremony held in the flight simulator bay of the nationally-registered historic hangar.  Following the grant presentation, Mr. Mark was given a ride in the McDonnell Aircraft factory cart once used by company founder James S. McDonnell to drive President John F. Kennedy on his factory tour in 1962.

“The database will be  a cataloging of the museum’s entire collection and library,” said Mark Badasch, the museum’s Director.  ”This will lead to better preservation of artifacts, greater availability to the public as well as, eventually, online browsing of the collection.”  The management of the records associated with thousands of artifacts and many more historic documents and media items is a daunting task.  “Having the information on each item at your fingertips is essential for managing the collection and fulfilling our public education mission,” added Carmelo Turdo, museum 2nd Vice President.  “Implementing this system will be challenging,” Turdo continued, “but I am looking forward to learning a lot more about the collection as we proceed through the installation process.”

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum wishes to thank Ameren Illinois for providing the grant needed for this important project.  Members of the community are invited to visit and lend their talents to continuing the mission of the museum:

Serve the public through preservation and display of historic air and space artifacts and by providing educational programs to foster the spirit of flight in today’s youth and in future generations.

Museum Receives AIAA St. Louis Civic Service Award at Annual Banquet

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum was honored tonight at the annual AIAA St. Louis Section Honors and Awards Banquet held at the Engineers Club of St. Louis.  The museum was presented with the Civic Service Award in recognition of its work preserving St. Louis aerospace history and promoting aerospace education to this generation of youth.  Mark Nankivil, President of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, accepted the award and thanked all who contributed to the museum’s success.  Among the other award recipients was Dr. Frederick Roos, museum Life Member, who received the Section Service Award.  Guest speaker for the banquet was Dr. Marco Villa, Director of Mission Operations, Space Exploration Technologies Group at SpaceX.  Congratulations to the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum and Dr. Frederick Roos for being honored by the AIAA St. Louis Section.

AIAA St. Louis Chairman Frank Youkhana (L) and Museum President Mark Nankivil


Museum President Mark Nankivil Thanks the AIAA and Museum Members


Museum President Mark Nankivil with Award
Dr. Frederick Roos with Award


Museum to Receive 2013 St. Louis AIAA Civic Service Award

Just Announced – Museum to Receive St. Louis AIAA Civic Service Award!

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum has been chosen to receive the 2013 St. Louis American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Civic Service Award.  The award, to be presented at the annual awards dinner on May 23, recognizes the Museum’s work in the preservation of historic aviation and space artifacts and for promoting the spirit of flight in the next generation.  Museum President, Mark Nankivil, was quick to credit all who have worked at and with the Museum throughout its three decades, “Congratulations to our Museum team and to those of you who have supported us through the years.  This award represents the efforts of all of you!”  More details on the award and the ceremony will be featured in a future post.

Aerospace Community Mourns the Loss of Rose Church, “Flight Nurse to the Astronauts”

The aerospace community mourns the recent loss after a brief illness of our dear friend, Mrs. Rose Church, the “Flight Nurse to the Astronauts” during the budding Mercury and Gemini spacecraft programs at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, MO.  Starting out as an industrial nurse at McDonnell Aircraft in the early 1950s, she essentially created the job of flight nurse for the space program when McDonnell Aircraft became the prime contractor for Mercury and later Gemini spacecraft.  Her work brought such esteem from the astronauts, many of whom went on to the Apollo program, and the NASA hierarchy that she was invited to the last Space Shuttle launch as a VIP guest nearly 50 years later.  She continued to educate the public about the space program after leaving McDonnell and during her second career in real estate, and was a life member of, and generous contributor to, the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.  She will be remembered not only as an aerospace pioneer, but even more so as a lady who showed kindness and service to all she encountered.  Rose Church dreamed of going to the moon – her plan was a one-way colonization mission for older folks – but those who knew her are confident that she is now far beyond the moon, touring the universe with the One who created it.

For more information about Rose Church, please visit the previous posting on The Aero Experience and the Missouri Historical Society’s biography page at






Museum Visitor Raves About Experience, Writes Open Letter of Appreciation

The Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum After the Snowfall, Jan. 14, 2012

The following includes excerpts from a letter written to the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum from visitor, Rick Bates:

Saturday, January 14, 2012
Dear Mr. Turdo, Rehg and Abercrombie,
What a Good Day it was, to finally get to go to the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum, and I knew that it would be worth a second attempt to go, and it was worth every second… Every question that you answered carried an additional few to a 1/2 a dozen more points that took my response into a the “Oh Wow Category”, which made a bit of a challenge to grasp it all.  You see when the first 3 or 4 of your points are so fascinating, it made it hard for my ears to hear with a mind that was put in “Awe” and busy processing and appreciating at the speed of your sound…
To meet a Steward or Guide at any Museum, is the best, because you get the story behind the tangible evidence and remnants of “Pinnacle Moments in Time and History” that hold the fabrics of the Character Traits, Life’s Work and Accomplishments left behind by “The People that Lived it, Made it Possible, and then Left it here for us to see, learn from and appreciate, for what it was, and what it helped to accomplish”.  But to have the Good Fortune of Meeting 3 of the key people who were so willing to share their knowledge and insight, and discuss at any length and detail, any question that you may have about anything in that “Historic Hanger Number 2 Museum”, well for me, that was just pretty cool, and more than I could have imagined. 
 If you need a “Hat’s off” recommendation that may help sway a potential future sponsor your way, regarding your Customer Service or Interpersonal Skills, or Your Ability to Present and PROPERLY HOST AND SERVE the best interests of THE MUSEUM WHICH THEY ARE GOING TO HELP FUND, please feel free to show them this letter…
I hope everybody that flies into the St Louis Downtown Airport, gets a chance to see the history that are working to preserve, and that they pass it along to inspire every person of weight with an ability to help you accomplish it, to a standard that would honor all of those who created, and placed that history, in your care. 
Thanks for the first part of the tour,  Carmelo and Rick, and it was a pleasure meeting you as well Mr. and Mrs. Abercrombie.
Rickey Bates

Please Consider a Year-End Tax-Deductible Donation to Support the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum

It’s that time of year – time to consider year-end tax-deductible donations to trim your taxable income before January rolls around.  Please consider making a generous contribution to the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum and join the ranks of many who believe in the museum’s mission of preserving St. Louis area aerospace artifacts and providing education outreach to the next generation.  Help the museum maintain and improve historic 1929 Curtiss-Wright Hangar 2, refurbish artifacts, acquire display cases, and engage in community activities that prepare today’s youth for aerospace careers.  Please visit to make a donation or become a member today!