Fargo Air Museum gains 'game changer' access to more display aircraft from Air Force museum

Fargo Air Museum Executive Director Jackie Williams says an agreement with the National Museum of the United States Air Force "will be a game changer" in terms of making available new displays of vintage aircraft and other items in Fargo. Helmut Schmidt / The Forum
Fargo Air Museum Executive Director Jackie Williams says an agreement with the National Museum of the United States Air Force "will be a game changer" in terms of making available new displays of vintage aircraft and other items in Fargo. Helmut Schmidt / The ForumHelmut Schmidt / The Forum

FARGO — Thanks to a certification 18 years in the making, the Fargo Air Museum can now request aircraft and artifacts that are no longer of interest to the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy. The certification by the National Museum of the United States Air Force means the museum is eligible to request loans from a running list of equipment from the NMUSAF.

Sarah Sessions, who is in charge of the civilian museum loan program for the NMUSAF, said she hopes the Fargo Air Museum will be able to display new items soon.

“All who reviewed the report (on the Fargo Air Museum) were impressed with the museum and all that you folks are doing. So much to be proud of!” Sessions wrote in an email to Air Museum Executive Director Jackie Williams.

The designation “will be a game changer for the Fargo Air Museum,” Williams said Thursday, Dec. 6.

“There are a couple of drones that are no longer in use that we have our eye on,” Williams said. “Their goal is to have the public see it.”

The certification also gives the Fargo Air Museum the ability to trade displays with other certified museums.

“They’re (the NMUSAF) are hoping to find ways to get things to circulate,” Williams said. The loan agreement is typically five years, she added.

The items have already been paid for with tax dollars, so “they don’t want it behind base doors or in a boneyard.”

The Air Museum is also in talks with the Smithsonian Institution to obtain exhibits as part of their loan program.

That will be a long-term process — probably one to two years to get the Air Museum up to the Smithsonian’s standards, Williams said. That will also require training and an involved application process.

“It’s a fun process. It makes the whole museum better,” Williams said.

But once approved, the Air Museum can search through the Smithsonian's collections for any of 9,176 items available for loan.

They have space archives “that we would particularly be interested in,” Williams said.

“Anything from NASA” would be at the top of the Air Museum’s list, she said.