Thursday, September 20, 2007

The NWA History Centre

A few years ago, while searching online, I discovered that NWA actually HAD a History Museum...and it was local! I'd known that Delta and American had WONDERFUL Museums, though I'd never visited them personally, and had wondered if Northwest would have something similar. I set out to discover this 'Centre' the following day.

Driving the 5 miles to the 'Appletree Square Complex,' I parked and entered the building, found the Directory Board in the small lobby to see the 'NWA History Centre-B747.' That meant, it's in the basement. :) Descending in the elevator, the doors open and you're greeted by posters and models of the NWA Fleet from it's conception to modern day. Walking into the Centre is a historians paradise; cases and cases of memorabilia, models, wings, uniforms of pilots and 'stewardesses,' along with a friendly face or two of the retirees from NWA that run the daily operations of the Centre. Of note regarding the museum is that NWA does NOT officially recognize the museum, nor does it sponsor or watch over it's operations. The Centre is strictly run by volunteers ranging from retirees to aviation historians (like myself) and was started 5 years ago by a group of retirees noting the interest of NEEDING a museum. The amount of contributions of memorabilia, donations and interest literally made the Centre, and the space has been generously given by the NWA Credit Union, which shares the building.

Wandering around the museum gives you a sense of the past and the present, along with the 12 airlines that encompass today's Northwest Airlines. A nice selection of North Central, Republic and Hughes Airwest items dominate a corner of the museum (photo above) and there's rumor of creating more room soon. Let's hope! Another treat is in talking with the volunteers that maintain the Centre. They are a history lesson in and of themselves! Stories of the 'old days' are firsthand accounts and they LOVE to talk about them! We even have retirees from North Central and Republic! Just ask if they're a 'Blue tail or Red Tail' when you're there...:)

There are also a number of VHS tapes and DVDs for viewing that include the History of NWA, 'Top Duck' (The retirement of the Convair 580 from NWA), NWA events and other assorted specialties. Also of note is a well stocked lending/purchase library and a wonderful 'Gift Shop' with items from almost all of the 12 airlines of modern day NWA including pins, posters, tee-shirts, sweatshirts, models and other assorted airline 'goodies.' It's worth a look should you be in the MSP area sometime! I've included the link for those interested in seeing more. :)

NWA History Centre, Inc.

8101 34th Avenue South

Bloomington, MN. 55425

(952) 698-4478

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Convair Kid - Just wondering if you knew a way I could find information on a NWA pilot from the 30's named David Hilary Bunch. He was my Grandmothers brother-in- law and worked out of Seattle and possibly Alaska. His wife, Hazel was a pilot also but I don't believe worked for NWA. She died in a auto accident in 1935. Any help you could give me would be appreciated..
Chuck Burris
740 E Chapin St
Morris, Illinois 60450