For my Independence Day post, I’m featuring the most patriotic postcard I have with the U.S. flag providing the backdrop for the Spirit of Naval Aviation monument at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. I visited the museum during a family gathering for Christmas 2003 (during which it actually snowed!); my sister and her family returned to the area about ten years later and she sent me this card (amongst others – soon to be blogged).
Opened on 8 June 1963 as the realization of one man’s – Magruder H. Tuttle’s – idea, the National Naval Museum was initially housed in a wood-framed structure built during World War II with only 8,500 square feet of display space. Eight aircraft were displayed at a time, rotating amongst others held in storage in various locations around Pensacola Naval Air Station. It was soon realized that this was woefully inadequate and the Naval Aviation Museum Association founded in 1966 immediately set to work dealing with the expansion issue. Preliminary designs for a new museum building were made in 1967. Modifications resulted in a five-phase design, using pre-engineered steel, which could be built in modules over the years. The first phase was dedicated in April 1975, a 68,000 square foot facility. Further phase expansions followed and the museum is now the world’s largest dedicated to naval aviation with some 350,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space as well as outside displays on its 37-acre grounds.