On October 14, 1947, the legendary Bell X-1 was the first aircraft to punch through the sound barrier – one of aviation’s greatest technological obstacles
The Stafford Museum hosted nearly 200 guests at its annual open house and membership drive last Saturday. The event was a super success shining a light on the museum’s membership program and engaging the public to learn more about General Stafford and the museum named in his honor. Museum staff member Tanner Wheeler began the day with a guided tour to an excited bunch, anxious to hear the stories of the exhibits and the history behind them. Staff member Sharon Butcher welcomed guests as they arrived, greeting them with a smile and directing them to each area of activities. All day guests had the opportunity to sign up for a membership of their choice, choosing from several different levels created to meet the needs and comfort of each guest. With each signup, guests were able to enter a drawing for a pair of Thunder tickets to a home game the following week. The lucky winner was Mrs. Ann Wilson of Weatherford.
Another drawing at the museum was the chance to win one of two books about General Stafford and which were signed by him. Every guest had the chance to enter the drawing and the lucky winner of one of the books was Amanda Currier of Moore, Oklahoma. In the Rose and Tom Luczo Education Center, science demonstrations were performed by SWOSU professors Dr. Wayne Trail and Dr. Brian Campbell. The professors engaged the audience with the science of physics, with examples of static electricity and how sound resonates. The creation of a comet was also performed using dry ice, sand, and water, demonstrating the components of what makes up a comet.
After the crowd was dazzled with the elements of science, another physics demonstration had been taken place: grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. Museum member Randy Nabors volunteered to grill up some delicious lunch for the event. The museum guests were treated to a free lunch served by museum staff and board members including Harold Wright and Blake Sonobe. United Supermarket graciously donated the hamburger buns. Guests chose their drinks which were provided by Bancfirst, who donated soft drinks, and water donated by Pioneer Cellular. Board Member Carol Moses donated twelve dozen cookies to the event. The afternoon events kicked off with free planetarium shows for anyone who wanted to enter inside the museum’s big black dome theatre. Guests of all ages enjoyed the shows during the early afternoon. More tours and membership signups lasted throughout the day. The museum wishes to thank everyone who came out and had a good time and extends a heartfelt thanks to all those who volunteered to help with the event. Plans are already underway for next year’s open house! Stay tuned for the next exciting event!
Award-winning Houston designer Kelly Amen, formerly of Weatherford, donates his special Stafford Benches to be purchased by donors. Each limited edition and serial-numbered bench is identified with a commemorative inscription and displayed at the Stafford Air & Space Museum.
Amen, a native of Weatherford and a University of Oklahoma graduate, is a well-known designer in Houston, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, as well as Paris, France. His work has been featured in all media, from HGTV to nationally distributed books and magazines. One of his latest projects features his “1898 Weatherford, Oklahoma” bench which is permanently displayed in the first floor, West Wing, of the Oklahoma State Capitol building as a part of the Oklahoma Arts Council’s new Permanent State Art Collection gallery. This project honors the homesteading families of May and Caesar Folks and Emma and Casper Amen, and was presented as a gift from the City of Weatherford as a part of the 2007 Oklahoma Centennial Celebration.
His collection now includes the General Thomas P. Stafford, Astronaut Commemorative Bench (pictured above). These benches have laser cut images that General Stafford has drawn for this specific bench and his signature as well. These to purchase benches are a limited edition and can either be displayed at the museum or taken with the buyer. The proceeds of the bench go towards furthering the success of the museum’s education program. Each bench is numbered and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Kelly Gale Amen and General Stafford. Come by and see this masterpiece at the museum during our hours of operation. For pricing information please call 580.772.5871 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Outside the Stafford Air and Space Museum, giving visitors a hint of what’s inside the museum, are three outdoor exhibits: the F-4 Phantom, the T-33, and the Apollo Boilerplate. The Boilerplate, being the only spacecraft outside the museum, is about to become an outdoor exhibit like no other. The spacecraft, which is a real craft built for test projects, during the Apollo days, arrived at the museum years ago. The boilerplate (named for the type of steel used in its construction) were an inexpensive way to conduct a variety of tests and evaluations of the actual Apollo spacecraft. The museum’s boilerplate (BP-1210) has the same dimensions, shape, weight and center of gravity of a real Apollo, and was used in water recovery training. As the boilerplates proved out the many complex designs and procedures necessary for an Apollo mission to the moon, it was then set aside for the real Apollo to take center stage with astronauts aboard. The surviving boilerplates are now spread throughout the country, and have become landmarks for a variety of museums, centers, and schools, as will the museum’s unit. The Boilerplate’s newest task is to become the centerpiece of the museum’s newest revitalized exhibit, the ‘Path of Honor.” Bricks with the names of patrons, donors, supporters, and members of the museum will encircle the boilerplate creating a quiet exhibit for reflection and respect to all those who have contributed to the great Space Race and the Stafford Museum. New landscaping, provided by Chambers Landscaping, will provide a colorful addition to the exhibit, enhancing the exterior of the museum. Bricks will be placed around the boilerplate this summer and a new paint job underneath it will also take place this summer provided by museum member Bobby Marsee. If you are interested in having a special person immortalized in the “Path of Honor,” contact Brandi Rizzi at the museum.
Flown by Charles Lindbergh, a full size replica of the Ryan NYP single-engine monoplane performed the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris.