The Boeing 727 Fed Ex plane was donated to the museum and put in place by EAA volunteers with the Jetway in 2010. It was a major contribution to the museum and a big project that required many partners to change the way the museum delivers an education program.
The FedEx was briefly open for the public, but a new education program called Tennis Shoes on the Tarmac gives the retired cargo plane another purpose. But first the interior needed some love. NCCC AmeriCorps team worked diligently in 2014 to strip the interior to prep it for the next phase. In fact, last fall, one of the team members stopped in to see what his team did. He was very proud to be part of the project and wanted to see a bucket of the bolts he helped remove.
In addition, funds from the Gilchrist Foundation and MRHD supported interior renovation including electrical, insulation, and air units that are in place.
The Siouxland Junior League were the first to fund the curriculum called Tennis Shoes on the Tarmac. Tennis Shoes on the Tarmac curriculum first began as a set of slides developed to take a young visitor around the museum on a quest to answer questions and find artifacts to do so. A sort of aviation and transportation inspired scavenger hunt. The Iowa Governors STEM grants supported faculty to be trained in curriculum used in leading elementary STEM schools. The Tennis Shoes on the Tarmac is now an umbrella title that inspired and jump started work with young people and their families.
Suzanne Bartels is the Education Director and developed a day camp for the summer of 2019. She interviewed each family, and one mom was so excited to find a new program for her sons. She said it was nice for her family to meet new kids with like interests and learn cool lessons around aviation.
The curriculum uses STEM learning strategies – hands on activities with self-discovery and continuous reflection. The supplies are common items – coffee filters, string, notebooks, pencils, etc. Each child records actions they witnessed, discussed the similarities and differences, and at the end took home a journal, a certificate, new books, and new friendships.
Now, what is needed is a new place for the students and the families to learn more....and get more Tennis Shoes on the Tarmac and in the FedEx.