Museum hours: Tue/Thu/Sat 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Suggested donation: $10.

Total fundraising goal: $9 million
6%

Long-range plan through 2025

Background and mission

The B-17 Alliance Foundation is an Oregon nonprofit corporation that provides educational and museum programs to commemorate the men and women who served America during World War II. The centerpiece of the Foundation's efforts is the Lacey Lady, a B-17G bomber that served as a gas station canopy from 1947 to 1991 on Highway 99E in Milwaukie. Over the decades, this iconic aircraft slowly deteriorated from weather, pests, and occasional vandalism. Fear of losing this historical artifact prompted efforts to preserve it as the centerpiece of an educational institution.

Accomplishments

The Foundation has achieved a number of milestones since its inception in 2004. These include:
  • Completely restoring the Lacey Lady's nose section and ball turret
  • Moving the aircraft into a climate-controlled hangar at McNary Field in Salem
  • Opening an office and constructing a temporary museum at McNary Field
  • Developing a following of more than 8,000 Facebook fans
  • Creating and presenting numerous traveling exhibits about the air war
  • Creating a library of more than 900 books, 200 magazines, and hundreds of memorabilia
  • Professionally videotaping more than 50 personal stories of World War II veterans
  • Initiating a monthly Veteran's Coffee Club at the Bomber Restaurant

Restoring a 70-year-old aircraft to airworthy condition is an expensive proposition. Fewer than 50 B-17s remain intact in the entire world; all others were parted out decades ago. Unlike other restoration projects, such as classic cars, replacement components must be machined from scratch to absolutely precise specifications. As shown in the diagram above, even with volunteer efforts and careful stewardship of funds, it has cost more than $500,000 to achieve all the milestones to date. We estimate an additional $8.5 million will be necessary to fully restore the plane, construct a permanent museum, develop traveling displays, and market our offerings to the public. We estimate that the aircraft will be fully restored by 2025.

2016 Capital Campaign

The current "mission in progress" involves:
  • Disassembling, cleaning, and inspecting the remaining parts of the aircraft
  • Purchasing parts and materials
  • Commencing and substantially completing restoration

This segment of our long-range plan is by far the most ambitious and expensive. We estimate approximately $5 million will be necessary to complete these tasks. We have embarked on a new capital campaign to increase our visibility and accelerate our fundraising efforts. As part of this initiative, we developed a brochure and established a matrix of benefits specifically geared to solicit institutional sponsorships. Our board of directors is charged with the bulk of this fundraising effort.

Foundation volunteers marvel at the structural integrity of the Lacey Lady, despite the decades she spent in the elements.

U.S. Army Air Forces recruiting poster, ca. 1943.

U.S. Army Air Forces recruiting poster; artwork from the Saturday Evening Post, ca. 1942. Posters courtesy Northwestern University.