“The Test,” an exhibition about the famous Tuskegee Airmen or “Red Tails” opened Friday in a small ceremony at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum in Tyler.
The exhibit honors the first African-American aviators in the United States military and will run through July 31.
“We are always looking for something different to bring attention to the museum and bring people out here,” Carolyn Verver, the museum board's president, said. “This exhibit has been long overdue.”
An attendee of the ceremony was 84-year-old Wilbur Dixon, of Tyler. Dixon was a member of the last class to go through the Tuskegee flight school in 1949. He went on to serve almost 30 years in the military.
“We wanted to make certain that his gifts to the military were acknowledged,” Ms. Hornbostel said.
After the ceremony, museum volunteers were on hand to welcome visitors to the new exhibit.
Paula Loftin, of Chandler, brought her 9-year-old son Elijah to see the new exhibit.
“My son is very interested in planes,” Ms. Loftin said. “His dad had taken him to see the movie “Red Tails” and he has been to other museums and he wanted to learn more about it.”
The Tuskegee Airmen, named for the Alabama town they trained in, served during World War II as members of the United States Army Air Forces.
The effort, titled the “Tuskegee Experiment,” was a ground-breaking one. The airmen went on to have successful campaigns in North Africa and Europe and helped pave the way for African Americans in the military.
“This is a part of history,” Ms. Verver said. “They had to work extra hard to prove themselves, and they did a fantastic job.”
Nestled in a small room toward the back of the museum is the exhibit. Photographs, maps and graphics adorn the walls and provide a detailed account of the Tuskegee Airmen and their mission, the aircraft they flew and those they flew against.
Visitors also are encouraged to watch a documentary with accounts from some of the airmen about their experiences.
The goal of the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum is to preserve the legacy of aviation for future generations, according to its website.
“We want to capture people and educate them on aviation history,” Ms. Verver said. “So that's what the Tuskegee exhibit brings is aviation history.”
For more information about the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum or “The Test” exhibit, visit www.tylerhamm.com.