Memphis Belle exhibit officially opens

5 reasons the new Memphis Belle exhibit is one of the most impressive at the Air Force 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.

PHOTOS: Crowd welcomes the iconic Memphis Belle to its NEW exhibit at the Air Force Museum

The Memphis Belle exhibit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is now open! What a beautiful dislplay. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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. 

RELATED: Don’t miss these 5 Air Force Museum exhibits when you go see Memphis Belle

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opened the Memphis Belle exhibit to the public on Thursday after a 13-year restoration. Staff and volunteers worked 55,000 hours to restore the iconic World War II bomber. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

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. 

PHOTOS: 13 years and 55,000 hours of work: restored Memphis Belle

4. Artifacts from original crew members

Artifacts from the original crew members are included with a dedicated portrait and quote display from each member. 

A section of memorabilia, portraits and quotes from Memphis Belle crew members. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opened the Memphis Belle exhibit to the public on Thursday after a 13-year restoration. Staff and volunteers worked 55,000 hours to restore the iconic World War II bomber. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

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.

X