City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Flight Through History

Exploring the NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum

In the heart of Wildwood, New Jersey, nestled within the historic confines of Hangar #1, lies a treasure trove of aviation history. Founded in 1997 by Dr. Joseph Salvatore and his wife Annie, the NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum is not just a museum; it's a testament to passion, perseverance, and the indomitable spirit of community.

The museum's journey began when Dr. Salvatore, inspired by memories of aircraft soaring over Wildwood from his childhood, refused to let Hangar #1 fade into obscurity. With the support of the local community, they transformed the dilapidated hangar into a vibrant museum that now houses over 25 historic aircraft and interactive exhibits.

“Hangar #1 is listed on the national and state registers of historic places”, says Austin Myers NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum, Events & Communications Manager. “

Step inside Hangar #1, and you'll find yourself immersed in the rich tapestry of World War II aviation history. From the Douglas Fir timbers that form the very bones of the hangar to the poignant stories of the 42 Naval Aviators who lost their lives, every corner of the museum resonates with the legacy of that significant period.

But it's not just about preserving the past; it's about bringing it to life. Austin shares that “You can even  sit in the cockpit of an actual aircraft and climb a real air traffic control tower, or explore exhibits showcasing lesser-known aspects of WWII history, like the presence of German POWs in Cape May County.”

The museum's collection is equally impressive. For fans of Top Gun, iconic aircraft like the F-14 Tomcat and the F-5 Tiger await, alongside rarities like the TBM Avenger torpedo bomber, the same type flown by President George Bush Sr. during WWII.

Preserving these historical artifacts requires meticulous care, a task undertaken with dedication by the museum's staff. Take, for instance, the restoration of the F6F-3 Hellcat, rescued from the depths of the Pacific Ocean and painstakingly brought back to its former glory by the skilled hands of restoration experts.

But the NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum isn't just a static display; it's a vibrant hub of activity, hosting events that bring the community together. From the Wings & Things Arts and Crafts Festival to the annual AirFest, there's always something exciting happening at Hangar #1.

Looking to the future, the museum continues to evolve and expand. Recent restoration projects have revitalized Hangar #1, while upcoming initiatives like the STEAM gallery promise to enrich the visitor experience further. And with plans to host international exhibits like "The Longest Yarn," commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the museum's reach extends far beyond its historic walls.

So, whether you're an aviation enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique adventure, take flight into the past at the NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum. Because here, history isn't just preserved—it soars.

“Hangar #1 is listed on the national and state registers of historic places.”