The new and highly-anticipated Memphis Belle exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force has opened, and now it is one of the most unique at the museum.
Here are five things that make it special to visit:
1. The historic plane itself
The exhibit includes the aircraft suspended above the floor of the museum. This allows visitors full access to walk under the big bomber and see into the ball turret and bomb bay. Curator Jeff Duford said this was an idea from the restoration specialists who fabricated the steel pedestals that hold the aircraft up.
2. The (claustrophobia-causing) gun turret
A gun turret display is located near the tail of the aircraft that shows the inner workings of the ball turret and top turret positions. The display reflects just how small the ball turret is.
3. The full history
An extensive display about the history of the Memphis Belle and the heavy bombardment campaign in Europe wraps around the aircraft and is nicely designed to tell the story in words, photos and graphics.
4. Artifacts from original crew members
Artifacts from the original crew members are included with a dedicated portrait and quote display from each member.
5. Inspiring lighting and display
While not unique to the museum’s displays, the Memphis Belle is accented with theatrical lighting which really makes the bomber jump out of the far corner of the World War II Gallery. The bomb bay is lit with LED strip lights that fully illuminate its inner workings.