The Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum is located inside Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport, NJ. Built in 1943 by the US Navy, Hangar #1 served as one of only six Navy dive-bomb squadron training facilities in the US during WWII. After the Naval Air Station’s closure, 79 of the 126 original buildings were sold and moved off site. The government gave the remainder of the buildings to Cape May County. Throughout the years, many of the buildings were torn down and replaced by modern structures. Only 12 of the original buildings remain standing today. Hangar #1, the largest of the original remaining buildings, had various tenants in the years following the war but was eventually abandoned. In June 1997, the NAS Wildwood Foundation was formed and purchased Hangar #1. The 92,000 square-foot all-wooden structure was in a state of disrepair and required extensive renovation. Since the inception of NASW Foundation, Hangar #1 has been restored and transformed into a museum of aviation history. It is listed on both the NJ State and National Registers of Historic Places at a level of “National Significance.” No other hangar of this type functions as a military aviation museum, which is open year round and hosts numerous public events. NASW Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, is dedicated to preserve and restore the historically significant hangar. The Foundation’s mission is to educate the public about military aviation as it relates to New Jersey history, memorialize the 42 known men who perished while training at the site and continually restore the hangar.
NASW works to improve Hangar #1 and utilize all of its potential to make the museum a great place for members of the community to come enjoy. The Museum includes over 26 aircraft, numerous interactive exhibits and display rooms. Additionally, there is a real air traffic control tower that came from Bader Field in Atlantic City, a Coast Guard exhibit area and much more. The Museum is very hands-on and many of the aircraft are open for visitors to climb inside. Over the past several years, programming has also been expanded to include community events such as the Free Lecture Series, American Pride Day and concerts. One feature event is AirFest, hosted annually around Labor Day weekend, which includes vendors, exhibitors, food, lectures and live music. NASW has welcomed others to utilize historic Hangar #1 for group events like Feasting on History, a Military Awards Ceremony and even the making of a music video. Many of these events require the movement of the displays and aircraft to make space for each event. Sometimes, it is even necessary to empty the hangar of most aircraft which requires many hours of labor. As a Non-Profit, NASW Foundation operates largely on grants and donations to maintain the hangar, aircraft and exhibits.
Contact the Organizer
Contact the Organizer