Delta Air Lines will begin renovations funded by a $6.3 million grant from The Delta Air Lines Foundation and will kick-off a corporate sponsorship campaign to refurbish Delta's historic hangars on the company's corporate campus. Upon completion of the project, the facility will open to the public as the Delta Flight Museum offering daily tours and a unique private event facility.
The hangars, originally built in the 1940s for Delta's aircraft maintenance, were repurposed in 1995 as the site of the current Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum. Its mission then was to preserve the history of Delta's people and culture of exceptional customer service forged by founder C.E. Woolman. The site has served as the backbone of the company's global headquarters for more than 70 years.
"Returning Delta's historic hangars to their original glory helps preserve the history and rich Delta employee culture for generations of aviation enthusiasts," said Tad Hutcheson, vice president – Community Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum. "The new Delta Flight Museum will offer a one-of-a-kind experience for the Atlanta community and visitors from around the world."
Renderings of the new Delta Flight Museum are available here.
The renovation project will last 12 months and is scheduled to be complete in advance of Delta's 85th anniversary of commercial aviation service on June 17, 2014. Some of the major improvements include the addition of a welcome theater, installation of an elevator and construction of a new mezzanine level.
When completed, the new museum will offer a full-service event space that will accommodate private events for groups ranging from 100 to 1,200 people for a seated meal service. The facility will be among the largest capacity venues in the Atlanta metropolitan area and will offer a variety of scalable rental options.
The entrance to the Delta Flight Museum will offer convenient access for daily visitors and will include dedicated parking for museum patrons as well as capacity for valet parking services to compliment private functions held in the facility.
The Spirit of Delta will continue to be one of the largest items on display in the museum. The Boeing 767-200 was purchased by Delta employees in 1982 as an expression of thanks to the company and has been located in the museum since being retired from service in 2006.
The renovation also will include preserving the hangar doors by returning them to their original condition and polishing the concrete floors to retain the distinctive markings created when Delta installed the reinforced concrete needed to handle heavier aircraft as it transitioned from the use of propeller planes to the jet age.
New air conditioning and heat controls will provide a comfortable year-round visitor experience inside the large hangar facility. A full Convair 880 cockpit already owned by the museum along with a Boeing 737-200 flight simulator will be installed as permanent exhibits and a new retail store will be built for visitors to purchase aviation memorabilia and Delta-branded items.
The hangars were designated as an official Historic Aerospace Site by The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Feb. 2011, acknowledging them as the oldest surviving buildings currently in use at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Delta moved its headquarters from Monroe, La., to Atlanta in 1941 and began use of the hangars as the primary maintenance facility for its daily commercial flight operations. Aircraft maintenance moved to the site of Delta's current Technical Operations Center in 1960. In 1990, a group of Delta retirees launched an effort to consolidate Delta memorabilia, archival collections and one of Delta's first 1940s era Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The effort resulted in the creation of the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum located in the hangar facility donated by Delta.
About the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum
The Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum, Inc. is an independent nonprofit corporation, organized exclusively for public charitable uses. It is devoted to collecting and preserving the history and heritage of Delta Air Lines and includes artifacts from 40 airlines such as Chicago & Southern Air Lines, Northeast Airlines, Western Airlines, Pan Am, Song and Northwest Airlines among others in its collection. The Museum is located on the campus of Delta's Atlanta General Offices and is open to Delta employees, retirees, corporate visitors, and to the general public by appointment. Additional information is available at deltamuseum.org and Facebook.com/DeltaMuseum.