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Aviation Museum May Be Ready for Takeoff

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Plans are under way to relocate much, if not all, of the Virginia Aviation Museum's collections from its site at 5701 Huntsman Road near Richmond International Airport to its parent organization's Broad Street address, insiders say. The move could help create a veritable science-oriented campus of exhibits, programs and events.

"Both the board and the staff have been in discussions," says Science Museum spokeswoman Nancy Tait of a consolidation. "But at this point it's just talk."

Virginia Aviation Museum Director Michael Boehme describes any possible merger as "warm Jell-O," politely declining to elaborate until firmer plans materialize.

Some people close to both organizations say a marriage would benefit both. Tait acknowledges, for example, that the Virginia Aviation Museum likely would become more accessible, and therefore more frequented, if it moved into town.

The Science Museum likewise would gain cool stuff such as: 30 historic aircraft, reproductions of the Wright brothers' famous 1903 Flyer, and a World War II diorama that includes the Tuskegee Airmen and Women's Air-force Service Pilots.

If forecasters are right, the story of legendary Adm. Richard E. Byrd and his flight over Antarctica will one day flow from Broad Street. And "Stars and Stripes" will fly in some minds as more than the name of a grand old flag. — Brandon Walters

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