8th Air Force Museum undergoes name change
The 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base has a new name and mission.
The museum was re-dedicated as the Barksdale Global Power Museum Tuesday morning as the next step to giving the museum a new direction.
The decision to change its name came six months ago when Air Force Global Strike Command officials and the history office decided it was time to refresh its purpose.
Amy Russell, director of the Barksdale Global Power Museum, said the renaming of the museum marks a new chapter in its role in the community.
“As we move forward, we will take with us the proud heritage of our past and use it as our guiding light for our future,” she said.
Russell, who came to Barksdale from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, said the changes will breathe new life into the museum. One of their main goals, Russell said, is to focus on new educational opportunities and offerings for the public.
“Before, I feel like if you’ve been to the museum once then you’ve seen the museum,” she said. “Our plan is to have rotating exhibits so every time you walk in, you will learn and see something new. I want to teach someone something new every time they walk through those doors.”
Russell said the museum atmosphere should achieve several things; make the 80-year-old feel nostalgic about what they are seeing, get the 10-year-old excited about joining the Air Force and please everybody in between. One of their main goals though is to bring an educational purpose back into the museum.
Col. Andrew Gebara, Commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing, said the newly named Barksdale Global Power Museum is one of 12 Air Force museums in the country and has been a popular educational and tourist destination in the community since 1979. Not only does the museum include artifacts of local military history, but aircrafts and displays from a wide variety of global power assets.
The museum has grown to include 28 aircrafts and 120 displays that attract more than 50,000 people per year, Gerbara said.
“Another way of saying that is it attracts a tourist population almost the size of Bossier City,” he said. “That is pretty impressive for our community.”
Gerbara added that the rebranding was a wise decision.
“This is a great opportunity for us to show what we can do,” he said. “The present becomes history very quickly and it’s important for us to keep that alive and not let it fade away.”
Terry Snook, President of the 8AF Museum Association, said the museum is a great asset to the civilian and military community.
“It really covers the history of the Air Force,” Snook said. “Many of the people that live in this area are here because of Barksdale. I am one of them.
The rebranding doesn’t stop with a new name. Though it will still offer a wide variety of displays, there are plans to emphasize and highlight the historical background of Barksdale.
New displays will focus on where it got its name, history of the base, the bombers and aircrafts stationed there, the heritage of the 2nd Bomb Wing and the future of Barksdale.
As reported previously by the Bossier Press-Tribune, the museum is also in the process of seeking a new $15 million facility.
The new museum site would include a 148,000 square feet building with meeting rooms, dining areas, classrooms, auditorium, and theater, in addition to fixed and hanging aircraft displays. Located near I-20 on the northern edge of the base, the museum would be more accessible to the public and lessen the restrictions it currently has at its location near a more security-tight area on base.
However, the new facility can not begin until the proposed gate on the north side of the base, connecting to I-20 and I-220, is approved. As the museum moves forward under a new name, Russell said it will still play an important role in the story of Barksdale Air Force Base.
“We want to showcase where we are and it’s really important for us to give civilians a place to see what our airmen do for them everyday,” she said.
For more information on the museum, visit www.8afmuseum.com