Expansion of Perrin Air Museum expected to be completed by end of year

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Officals with the Perrin Air Force Base Historical Museum expect to complete an expansion to the building by the end of the year.

The Perrin Air Force Base Historical Museum may soon have more room for exhibits and displays from the former military base's past.

Organizers for the museum said this week that they expect an expansion of the museum's floor space to be completed some time before the end of the year. Once completed, the new space will represent a 50 percent increase to the museum space, organizers said.

"We have the exterior of the building up, but we still have to finish up the inside," said Charlie Brown, representing the museum. "They said it is likely to be the end of December before that is finished."

The new 40-foot by 60-foot museum currently sits behind a mechanical door. The space is still dark, as lights and electricity work have yet to be completed. The concrete floor is still barren, much like the metal walls and ceiling.

This is really neat because you can't really see it and it looks just like the other building," Brown said.

Brown said the museum started exploring its options for expansion about two years ago when the museum started experiencing overcrowding of its exhibits. 

Specifically, museum officials plan to move five aircraft engines to the new space.

"We will have exhibits with military vehicles in there and some aircraft engines that we have in there," Brown said. "Several other exhibits will rotate as well, more or less."

At the time, organizers were unsure how to finance the needed expansion. However, a donation by one of the museum members helped finance the project, which is expected to cost just over $100,000.

The new wing will be named the William Byers expansion in honor of this donation, Brown said.

Construction began on the building in early October, and the shell of the facility was finished quickly, Brown said. Brown said museum operators do not have any additional expansions in mind, but he could not rule them out some time in the future.

"We have a 50-year plan, as far as we go, if we have anyone to keep running it that long," he said.