AirSpace Minnesota

logo-horizAfter the Museum’s capacity to serve the public was curtailed following 9/11 when the Guard needed access to the Museum’s hangar space, a quest began to find nearby space for an expanded facility.

Through Board member Richard Wiessner’s vision and persistence and the Collaborative Design Group, who worked extensively with the National Park Service to design a campus that met their requirements, a new location on the Ft. Snelling Golf Course site and plan has been developed that is supported by Hennepin County, state and local leaders.

The new location is extraordinary, with adjacency to the airport and Guard base and a runway for fly-in events/aircraft assets. Easy access via light-rail and major highways and proximity to Historic Fort Snelling and the Mall of America enable the new campus to serve as a high-profile economic development catalyst for the entire Upper Post.

Equally important are the opportunities to help strengthen STEM and career education for students and teachers while learning about the innovation and achievements of people and companies, both yesterday and today.

The new Foundation’s new Flight Plan has three elements:

Commemorate: Honor those who serve & build

  • Create a place to learn about Minnesotans who led in serving our nation and building new technologies and companies.
  • Develop programs that feature these individuals via permanent physical and virtual displays and searchable databases.
  • Capture the stories of individuals and organizations and enable access to them via exhibits and online resources.
  • Partner with the Minnesota Historical Society to build outstanding approaches and cross-promote access.

Educate: Learn from the past & prepare for the future

  • Develop exhibits and programming that illuminate the achievements of people and companies in the context of innovation.
  • Create a program that connects students with restoration efforts around the region to provide hands-on learning and inspiration.
  • Build a Challenger Center and an Aviation Learning Center to bring innovative STEM experiences to students and teachers.
  • Infuse all experiences with useful insights and planning tools to support career exploration and academic planning.

Innovate: Showcase people & ideas at work

  • Create ongoing initiatives to feature people, companies & technology solutions addressing today’s needs.
  • Design interactive dialogue among professionals in industry, academia & government with students.
  • Build “Ask the Experts” capability into online efforts to feature professionals & educate/inspire students.
  • Develop a state-of-the-art capacity to optimize distance learning in STEM, careers, restoration & core topics.

Challenger Center

Challenger Centers help transform the way teachers teach and students learn. Created after the tragic loss of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986, this national program has 47 centers across the U.S. The Minnesota site would serve students and teachers in a 300-mile radius. Highlights:

  • The centers feature a simulator, labs and standards-based curricula.
  • Professional development programming equips teachers to engage students effectively and improve outcomes.
  • Elementary and middle-school students gain hands-on experience.
  • Simulations include: Rendezvous with a CometTM; Encounter EarthTM; Return to the MoonTM; and Voyage to MarsTM.

Aviation Learning Center

The Aviation Learning Center is a respected franchise available from the Museum of Flight in Seattle. It provides exciting aviation, math and science educational opportunities for all ages through hands-on discovery and achievement in aerodynamics, flight planning, weather, navigation and other disciplines. Based on the Cirrus aircraft manufactured in Duluth, the technology is locally designed and created, strengthening ties to Minnesota industry. The software is designed by Microsoft.

Three Complementary Components

Working together, the Challenger Learning Center, Aviation Learning Center and Air and Space building provide a cohesive means to understand the impact made possible when people and ideas take flight. As a physical and virtual destination and partner, the Minnesota Air and Space Center can help inspire and equip us to be more effective in meeting today’s challenges, creating a stronger workforce, companies and communities.


The Minnesota Air National Guard Historical Foundation is a charitable, nonprofit organization recognized under code section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

If you would like to donate an object to the Minnesota Air National Guard Museum, please call 612-713-2523 to discuss your interest. The Museum cannot guarantee that all items offered will be accepted or displayed, but appreciates the opportunity to learn about opportunities.

Please consider supporting our work by including a bequest in your will, designating the Foundation as beneficiary on a life insurance policy or retirement plan, establishing a charitable remainder trust, making a gift of cash, marketable securities or other assets to benefit the Foundation’s ongoing legacy.

Do you have a Matching Gifts Program at work? Double your gift to the Foundation when using your company’s matching gifts program.

Monetary contributions should be made payable to the “Minnesota Air National Guard Historical Foundation.” Donations can be submitted via secure credit card payment or mailed to:

Minnesota Air National Guard Historical Foundation
670 General Miller Drive
St. Paul, MN 55111-4114

Questions? Contact the museum at 612-713-2523 or e-mail