The Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford just announced a major expansion this year for its 25th anniversary.
For 25 years, the museum has grown to showcase every aspect of the history of air and space exploration, but its staff members are about to embark on their biggest project yet, the Stafford Legacy Campaign.
Few places house the rarity of artifacts seen in the museum. A stroll through its hallways takes you from gliders to space rockets, and there is even more history that is not on display.
Assistant Director Chaney Larsen said, “We’re running out of room, and that’s why we need this expansion.”
Some in the community have already jumped on board, with $1.4 million in funding pledged at the beginning of the $3 million campaign. Once complete, the Smithsonian-affiliated museum will have room for all sorts of new sights, including an A10 Warthog and the actual lunar shuttle simulator that trained Gen. Tom Stafford himself.
Gen. Stafford traveled to the moon on Apollo X. The goal is to complete the expansion in time for the 50th anniversary of that mission in May 2019.
The museum is Gen. Stafford's legacy, beckoning the outside world to visit his hometown of Weatherford and learn.
“His mother came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon, and then lived to see her only son. Gen. Stafford, fly to the moon. It’s just an incredible story,” Larsen said.
At 87 years old, Gen. Stafford is still working. Larsen says he calls the museum just about every day, and he continues to encourage kids to study STEM.
“We have some big, little fans that come in, even on a weekly basis, and they’ll be wearing their astronaut suits, and you can see the inspiration,” she said.
The goal is to teach young Oklahomans that no matter how small you start, you can still shoot for the stars.
If you would like to contribute to the Legacy Campaign, visit www.staffordlegacycampaign.org.