Curatorial Updates

T-34 Restoration Project

Curatorial Updates by Terry Brennan, Curatory & Director of Restoration

We are happy to report that the Northrop-Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout has found a new home in the Rotunda at Balboa Park. NG donated the first of three flying prototypes some time back and, with this move, it becomes the fourth UAV to be exhibited in the Museum’s entry space. Our gratitude goes out to the Northrop-Grumman team for their generosity.


1914 marks the 100th anniversary of hostilities culminating in the “Great War.” The Museum has initiated upgrades to our already excellent WWI gallery with the addition of educational materials, period uniforms, and a measure of interactive opportunities, designed to enhance the visitor’s experience and appreciation of the history. Look for these changes by the beginning of the new year.


Our traveling exhibit, “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” continues to attract large crowds on a daily basis, with it wacky, weird, and wonderful oddities, adding a large measure of value to the price of admission with only a small upcharge. If you haven’t seen Ripley’s, put it on your calendar!



The basement remains a bee hive of activity as work continues on the Hughes H-1 Racer project. Our skilled volunteers have fabricated the horizontal stabilizer and elevators, while a second crew is begining to skin the rear fuselage. Wing ribs have now been added between the main and rear spars as the wing halves themselves begin to appear much more “airplane-ish.” Although this is a relatively long term project, it is great to see it taking shape.


The Bell X-1 rocket plane is still at Gillespie Field getting closer and closer to the paint process. We expect to see the project completed and back downtown for hanging in the Rotunda by the end of September. Exact dates however for the completion of a project such as this are difficult to pinpoint as our already thin crews are often pulled in other directions. Watch for the news of a celebration of some sort when the aircraft is returned to Balboa Park.


Convair Club volunteers, the Thursday crew at Gillespie Field, have spent the last year and a half or so, restoring a 1956 Beech T-34 Mentor. Left in very sad shape by the North Island Flying club several years ago, work is progressing nicely toward completion of what will soon be a cosmetically perfect restoration.


Also at Gillespie Field, work continues on the 1927 Boeing FB-5 biplane fighter. The very large upper wing in nearly completed and ready for skinning while work on the remaining component goes on in El Cajon and downtown in the basement. Those of you who have been around for some time may recall that we actually displayed an FB-5 on the gallery floor years ago. This time the aircraft will remain in the possession of the Museum when finally completed. 


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