Barksdale Global Power Museum: more than just history

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Step back in time, experience an exciting journey through the past and discover the dynamic history of strategic bombardment at the home of the 2nd Bomb Wing, Eighth Air Force and Air Force Global Strike Command.

The Barksdale Global Power museum understands that history can be useful and sometimes indispensable in creating an identity. The museum is not only a memorial of American conflicts but also a recognition of the many years spent training to deter war.

On display at the museum’s air park are vintage aircraft like the venerable B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator, bombers of World War II, along with their “little brother” the P-51 Mustang and one of the highest flying and fastest jet aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, and many more.

Known as the Eighth Air Force Museum until late 2012, the Barksdale Global Power Museum has been designed to not only share the stories of Barksdale Air Force Base, but all of Air Force Global Strike Command.

“Displaying artifacts in our museum connects Airmen across time,” said Col. Ty Neuman, 2nd Bomb Wing commander. “Their lives may have been different from our own, but like us they had hopes, dreams and achievements which brought our Air Force to where we are today. By preserving their memory, we preserve our rich heritage of innovative thinking for generations to come.”

There are six different exhibit galleries, including a WWII era briefing room that plays a video about the history of Barksdale. One popular exhibit which no other museum in the world can offer is the wooden lectern used by President George W. Bush when he addressed the nation in the first hours after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. With it are the clocks and flag that formed the background to that dramatic, historic moment.

"Not only can you see it, but folks can actually come up and take a picture at the wooden podium," museum director Amy Russell said. "They get the opportunity to stand in a place where a president has stood. Not a lot of people can say they've done that."

The museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is free, but visitors 18 and older must have a valid driver's license to access the museum. For more information on the museum or upcoming exhibit openings, call 318-456-2840 or 318-456-5553.