David Kaplan’s 1983 DeLorean was the center of attention this past October due to the Hollywood blockbuster Back to the Future II. In the movie, Doc and Marty travel forward in time to October 21, 2015 in a DeLorean. Reporters from around the area came down to the museum to get a story for what is now known as “Back to the Future Day.”
Thanks to April Tidwell at Leadership Siouxland for her initiative in developing a new QR code virtual tour at the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation. This new QR code virtual tour enhances the visitors’ experience by giving them more insight on the particular exhibit as they tour the museum. The virtual tour works by either checking out a tablet from the front desk or using the QR code reader app on your smart device and scanning the codes attached to many exhibits located around the museum. It will then take you to a link which provides addition information about the exhibit in which you scanned. Thank you to Electronic Innovations for donating six tablets. Also thank you to Mary Honomichl (Siouxland Community Health),Robert Gries (Per Mar Security), Eric Hoak (United Real-Estate Solutions), Karen Hodges (Electronic Innovations) and April Tidwell (Sioux City Community Schools).
The 1971 Camaro Z28 on display at the museum has quite an interesting story behind it. It all started when Richard and Rosemary Alter spent $3,337.75 on a brand new 1971 Camaro Z28. This car was considered to be the “ Best All-Around” car of its time. The Z28 Camaro was no ordinary muscle car. It came with an impressive 350 cubic inch, V8 engine that produced 275 hp.
A few years after the purchase of the car was made, Rick was stationed in Italy for the Air Force, and he brought his family and his baby with him. In 1975 Rick and the rest of his family decided to pack into the Camaro and road trip around the European Continent. The journey started in Italy and led the family through Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
This Camaro has seen good times, but it has also seen some bad times. It has been an omen of bad luck to Rick since the very first day that he has had it. It all started on that first day that he purchased the vehicle. While driving it around Omaha, it suffered an accident as someone ran into it. The Camaro sustained some damage but was able to be restored. Then in 1998, another vehicle ran a red light and crashed into the Camaro. The vehicle was totalled. Hoping that would be the last time something bad happened to his car, Rick spent the money and fixed it once again. After it was fixed he would keep it in his garage for safekeeping but that did not stop the local neighborhood kids from getting to it. They lit his garage on fire with the car still in there. Rick did not give up hope on his car just yet and decided to repair it once again. In September 2014, there was a 100+ mph windstorm that did major damage to the car. With the expert help from John Harbeck, the 1971 Camaro has been restored to better than new condition in only four months time. The Camaro was up and running by that following March.
Although the car and the owners have been through so much, we are honored to have it here at the Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation. The vehicle is in immaculate condition and we encourage you to stop by and take a look.
Thank you to the Junior League of Sioux City for a STEM grant written to build a partnership between Morningside Elementary and the museum. New STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) programming will strive to increase community awareness of the Mid American Air Museum. It will also offer unique educational opportunities to the students of Morningside Elementary in relation to their STEM programming. In addition, Junior League members will be trained as volunteers at the museum. Amy Letchenberg is the STEM Grant Coordiantor for JL. She has a committee being trained to volunteer.
The Gilchrist Foundation, which is administered by Security National Bank-Sioux City, awarded Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation a $71,000 grant for museum taxiway repair and security gate update. As our members and friends may know, Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation has a security gate access to the Sioux Gateway Airport runways which allow us to bring aircraft to the museum. Lately, the condition of the taxiway has deteriorated on our side and on the municipal airport side of the gate to the point of non-use. The grant received will allow MAMAT to mill blacktop overcoat on our side of the gate and start the resurfacing project as well as filling open cracks in the concrete panels. Plus, we will replace the current 30 foot wide gate with a more appropriate size to facilitate easier aircraft access. The north-south parking lot in front of the museum building is 76 year old concrete poured as one of two runways for the 'new' Sioux City Airport in 1939. Also, Runway 22, which was part of the airport expansion in early 1942, when the Sioux City Army Air Base was built for World War II, will receive some updating. The continuing expansion and updates at Sioux Gateway Airport will facilitate improvements of the taxiways on the city portion of the project. The Mid America Museum is truly grateful to the Gilchrist Foundation for the start of this project. Additional funds will be required to complete the estimated $140,000.00 milling, resurfacing, crack sealing and and gate replacement project.
The Boeing 727 Fedex airplane is an ongoing renovation project. The most recent activities is the installation of the electric system the museum is currently waiting Sioux City inspectors to approve the next phase of work. The plane will be converted into an educational display that will allow visitors to come into the aircraft and experience what it's like in a commercial aircraft.
Patrick and Kimberly Sealey own a beautiful 1950 Mercury Convertible. The car was one of 8,341 produced in 1950. For the original sale price of $3,400, the Mercury Convertible came with a V-8 110 horsepower engine. The vehicle also came with power windows and seats. Their Mercury was not always in such excellent condition. The restoration process took Ronald Sealey, from Sealey Body Shop, four years to do a complete frame off restoration.
A Honda CB500T motorcycle was purchased by Rick and Rosemary Alter brand new in 1976. Rick said this motorcycle has a powerful 498cc engine with a 5-speed transmission made for going fast. Instead of focusing on different aspects of the bike, Cycle World Magazine in 1975 wrote, “It is long enough to carry a briefcase or a passenger without crowding the rider. And the padding is soft enough for comfort. Believe us, without this seat you couldn't ride a 500T very far and get off smiling.” Over the years, the CB500T accumulated minor wear and tear. Rick had the gas tank and the covers painted. He also had the seat cover redone to finish the bike’s restoration.
In November, the Veterans Day celebration took place at the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation.The day was organized by Trisha Theisen started with coffee and donuts and a brief walk around the museum.Veterans were able to socialize and share war stories with one another as they awaited the arrival of the Freedom Riders. Once they arrived, the Color Guard from the 185th presented the colors. The honorary guests were then introduced, and Kyle Fisher from the 185th gave his speech. Carey Anderson also played Taps in the Veterans Day celebration.
The Mid America Museum of Aviation & Transportation hosted Fall Fest and its activities that had the whole family enjoying themselves. Fall Fest is organized each year by Anne Westra, Marketing Director & Economic Developer of the City of Sioux City. The museum's main event was the kid’s quest scavenger hunt. The first twenty-five kids that finished the hunt got to take home a prize. Other activities included, watching the Disney movie Planes in a first class seating theatre, interactive exhibits, a photo booth, dress up gear, paper crafts, and the children were able to get into the Graflight airplane. Overall it was a great way to kick off the fall season and have fun at the Mid America Museum of Aviation and Transportation.