The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History will launch an ambitious campaign through Indiegogo – a funding platform for creative projects, directly supported by individuals who pledge money – April 1 through May 1, 2016, to purchase the paint for the restoration of the Museum’s iconic B-52B Stratofortress.
Albuquerque’s very own Boeing B-52B Stratofortress s/n 52-0013, one of only a few B-models left in existence and one of only four in the world on display for public viewing, will be the focus of a special initiative within Operation Preservation – a multi-year campaign to repaint and refurbish the iconic aircraft in the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s nine-acre outdoor exhibit area, Heritage Park.
“With the surface area of this behemoth aircraft taking up over two-thirds of one acre, and with one gallon of paint costing $460, we decided to incorporate a crowd funding initiative to help us jump-start the fundraising aspect of the B-52B restoration project,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director.
This will be the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History’s second crowd funding campaign, as the Museum successfully raised over $44,000 last year in a similar initiative for its B-29 Superfortress. Through another crowd funding platform, the Museum exceeded its goal in 30 days and was able to completely restore the exterior of the historic B-29 bomber.
The total restoration cost for the B-52B Stratofortress is expected to be $120,000. Approximately half of this cost will be paid for by the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign where the Museum will aim to raise $60,000 in a one-month time frame. If this campaign reaches its goal in the allotted time of one month, the Museum will be able to purchase paint and primer, prepare the surface of the aircraft and then paint the fuselage and wings.
Through Indiegogo, the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is asking individuals to “Help Bring a Piece of History Back to Life” and to become a member of the B-52B Restoration Team by making a monetary donation. Restoration of the B-52B will begin in the spring under the supervision of Major Jerry Hanks, Heritage Park Restoration Coordinator, who also lead the successful restorations of the Museum’s F-16 Fighting Falcon in 2014 and the Museum’s B-29 Superfortress in 2015. The target completion date for this restoration project is early fall of 2016.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. Built by Boeing – with a wingspan of 185 ft and a maximum takeoff weight of 488,000 lbs – B-52 airplanes have been operated by the United States Air Forces since the 1950s and the more recent models are expected to serve continuously into the future. The B-52B – the type of aircraft located at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History – was the first truly operational version of the Stratofortress that featured an enhanced reconnaissance capability and was fitted with a bombing/navigation system, and they remained in service into the mid-1960s when they were traded in for more modern B-52s.
“Our B-52 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is truly Albuquerque’s airplane,” said Jim Walther, Museum Director. “This airplane was delivered directly from Boeing to Kirtland in 1955, and it was never assigned to another Air Force base in all its existence.”
Contributions to Albuquerque’s B-52B restoration can be made online at nuclearmuseum.org which will also provide links to the Indiegogo campaign.
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is located at 601 Eubank SE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Formerly the National Atomic Museum, which opened in 1969 and was chartered by Congress in 1991, the Museum serves as a repository and steward of nuclear-related historical items and is a Smithsonian affiliate. The Museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 361 days a year. The Museum’s website is nuclearmuseum.org and the phone number is 505-245-2137.