April 05, 2019

Museum Review - Tulsa Air and Space Museum

Lord Nelson and I recently took a trip to northeast Oklahoma. Our primary destination was Boarding House Books in Claremore, who are selling off a 15,000 volume private library. I picked up another set of Morison's History of US Naval Operations in WWII, as well as a gorgeous leather-bound edition of Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power Upon History. But while we were there, we stopped in at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium.

Lord Nelson with the museum's F-14
Type: Air and space museum and planetarium
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Rating: 3.5/5, Not a bad way to kill an hour or two
Price: $8 for normal adults


The museum wasn't great, certainly not in the same league as the Stafford Museum, but it's worthwhile if you're going to be in Tulsa anyway. The big draws are an F-14 inside the museum, with a ladder that lets you look right into the cockpit, and an MD-80 outside. The MD-80 is only available by tour, which are run every hour. It was donated by American Airlines after they found a crack in the tail section that was so bad they couldn't even get approval for a single ferry flight. I didn't realize that cracks could get that bad.

More of the collection at the museum

The rest of the collection is fairly typical of the Minor Air Museum Eclectic genre. They had a Jumo 004, the engine that powered the Me 262, as well as an R2800, which I believe to be the greatest aircraft piston engine ever built. There was a Rockwell Ranger 2000, a losing bid for an old trainer competition, you could climb inside, and a number of quasi-random smaller aircraft. There was also a lot of displays on Tulsa's aviation history, which were mildly interesting, but very typical of that kind of museum.

Overall, it certainly wasn't the best air museum I've ever been to, but it was enjoyable. The best bit, though, was when I got a couple of the volunteers telling stories of their days as mechanics in the Air Force. Go if you have time to kill in Tulsa.

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