Aviation exhibit opening in June at DeWitt County Museum

Posted 12/8/21


This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Aviation exhibit opening in June at DeWitt County Museum


CLINTON — A new exhibit on the history of aviation in DeWitt County will open June 2022 at the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum.

The exhibit will feature the stories of past and current residents whose lives have been touched by aviation. 

Museum director Joey Long is working with John Warner and his friend and colleague, Denis Hambucken, an author, photographer and graphic designer who has collaborated with Warner on other museum exhibits in New England. Local journalist and author Edith Brady-Lunny will help compile stories for the exhibit.

Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County is a professionally designed and constructed exhibit that tells the story of people’s connection to aviation. Those stories will come from men and women who served our country in the military, worked as flight attendants, mechanics and crop dusters.

Commercial pilots, ticket agents and TSA agents also may have stories to share.

DeWitt County’s history of aviation runs deep and wide, according to Warner.

“From the earliest days, DeWitt County has been enthused about aviation. In all my years of flying, I have learned firsthand that DeWitt County residents are the holders of fascinating stories and wonderful, evocative souvenirs and artifacts that chronicle their love affair with flight. The romance takes many shapes and sizes - military aviation, the airline industry, private aviation, control tower operations, aircraft maintenance, and so forth - and when all are combined, a fascinating, multi-faceted story develops,” said Warner.

In addition to stories, the museum hopes to borrow personal artifacts to enhance the exhibit that will be displayed in the Carriage Barn west of the C.H. Moore Homestead, said Long.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing what else will be coming through the museum doors. Some amazing photographs have already been loaned, but I know there will be much more to come - more great images, heirlooms, artifacts, relics - many treasures hidden away in albums, attics and boxes will now be featured in this exhibit and be appreciated by so many.”

     “For a limited time, the photographs, artifacts, as well as the stories that accompany them, will be combined, displayed, and shared. Each individual piece holds significance, but when all are combined to tell the story of 100 years of aviation in DeWitt County as a whole, the individual items and narrative will become much more powerful. The public will certainly not want to miss this unique exhibit,” said Long.`  

A banner on the southwest corner of museum grounds announcing the exhibit has sparked a curiosity for visitors intrigued by the region’s rich aviation heritage, said Hambucken. 

“My goal is to design a vivid and immersive experience for visitors of all ages. At the core of the exhibit will be a series of displays, each focusing on a different theme: Pioneers of aviation, World War II, Vietnam War helicopter pilots, commercial and military aviation and many others. These themes will be richly illustrated with evocative artifacts, local stories and mannequins in full uniforms. You can expect a professionally curated, world-class exhibit,” said the exhibit designer.

The stories and photographs collected for the Prairie Flyers exhibit will be compiled in a book designed by Hambucken, whose previous work includes A GI in the Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge.

“This is a community-based project. We want to hear from everyone with a tie to aviation, just not aviators,” said Warner.

Stories may be submitted to the museum at www.chmoore.homestead.org or by contacting the museum director at 217-935-6066.