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Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum is located within the former Hangar 1 (Building 401) on land that was part of Lowry Air Force Base. The museum building is one of three remaining historic hangars from the base, the others being the adjacent Hangar 2 (Building 402) [now a storage/retail facility] and Building 1499 (the "Black Hangar") [now an ice arena]. The museum hangar houses artifacts spanning the aeronautic and aerospace history of Colorado and the United States. A new entry with observation tower and museum store guides visitors into the historic section of the building. The observation tower allows visitors to look out over one of the first Boeing RB-52B Stratofortress aircraft built, which forms part of the Veteran's Memorial Plaza at the entrance to the facility. Once inside the museum proper, visitors can watch a short film narrated by Harrison Ford in the museum's theater before venturing into the collection.
Over 40 military and civilian aircraft occupy the hangar, with rare examples including the Douglas B-18A Bolo, North American Rockwell B-1A Lancer, Ball-Bartoe JW-1 Jetwing and Republic RF-84K Thunderflash. Space exploration is represented by displays on Colorado astronauts, a mock-up of a proposed command module for Space Station Freedom (a pre-cursor project to the International Space Station) and a NASA Apollo boilerplate used for capsule retrieval testing. Even flights of fancy come to life with the flying machine from the 2004 version of Around The World In 80 Days and a three-quarter scale Incom T-65 X-Wing from the Star Warsmovies, on loan from LucasFilm Limited. The X-Wing often travels as part of LucasFilm's Star Wars promotional efforts, so call ahead to see if it is in residence.
The perimeter of the museum is populated by intimate rooms focused on specific topics, including the Lowry Air Force Base, the Colorado Air National Guard, the Colorado Aviation Historical Society, aircraft nose art and ejection seats. An exhibit on aircraft cockpits stands prominently near the new entry. Bombs and munitions, as well as a burgeoning collection of nuclear weapon shapes, are interspersed with the military aircraft. Traveling exhibits occupy part of the floor and the mezzanine walkway, and an exhibit titled "Phantom Rising" focuses on Vietnam War veterans and fighter pilots of all wars. Colorado's tie to space programs is captured in "Colorado's Astronauts: In Their Own Words" and other space exhibits.
The second Saturday of each month is cockpit demonstration day. Several aircraft are opened for inspection by visitors, and child-sized peddle-planes are available for kids to practice their flying skills. On rare occasions, the X-Wing is opened as well. Visitors should call ahead on that specific Saturday to verify which aircraft will be available or if cockpit demonstration has been pre-empted by other events.