Aerial view of the restoration facility. Photo courtesy Bryan Heim Photography.
Journey back in time . . .
We invite you to take a journey. Not the Sentimental Journey commemorated in song, but a journey back to a time when Americans pulled together to stop genocide and fight a deadly foe.
For the United States, it began on December 7, 1941, a date that continues to “live in infamy.” To this day, it is the deadliest and most widespread conflict in history, involving more than 30 countries. More than 60 million people - 3 percent of the world’s population - were killed; millions more would later die from war-related disease and famine. By the time Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945, more than 400,000 American soldiers had given their lives in battle.
It is difficult for most to imagine what that dark period in history was like. Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, fewer than 700,000 are still alive; more than 400 die each day. The Veteran’s Administration estimates that within 20 years there will no one left to tell their stories.
The B-17 Alliance Foundation is restoring the Lacey Lady to airworthy condition and building a destination museum focused exclusively on the history World War II. We are working to keep our veterans’ stories alive so that future generations might learn from them. As George Santayana famously wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
We believe this is the most important mission the Lacey Lady will ever fly.
With a wingspan of 104 feet, a length of 75 feet, and a gross weight of 65,000 pounds, the B-17G is an impressive aircraft. In addition to a massive bomb payload of up to 17,600 pounds, the plane was outfitted with 13 Browning .50 caliber machine guns. Power came from four Wright R-1820 engines with a combined output of 4800 horsepower, capable of propelling the aircraft at speeds up to 287 miles per hour. When B-17s appeared on the horizon, Luftwaffe pilots were said to have suffered from vier motor schreck (“four-engine fear”).
When you visit the Lacey Lady’s restoration hangar at McNary Field, you’ll be able to view this massive aircraft up close. The Lacey Lady may have a long road ahead to full restoration, but one look and we think you’ll understand why this aircraft was nicknamed the “Flying Fortress.”
The Foundation is doing much more than restoring the Lacey Lady. We are also building a destination museum to preserve the history of World War II and document the sacrifices the “Greatest Generation” made to bring us to victory. We have spent years collecting and cataloging hundreds of war-era memorabilia for display. The result is a collection you won’t find anywhere else. And thanks to the generosity of World War II veterans and their families, our collection continues to grow.
Inside the museum you’ll find magazines, photos, newspapers, posters, maps, books, uniforms . . . the list goes on. We also have dozens of professionally videotaped interviews with pilots and crews that tell the story of the war through the eyes of the people who lived it.
In addition to the museum displays, we have also built a library of more than 3000 vintage and contemporary works - the largest of its kind in the state - that detail virtually every aspect of the war. Although some of our more fragile items must remain on site, we have just as many items that are available for checkout to registered patrons. We invite you to come and browse our collection.
Do you have any World War II memorabilia to donate?
If you have any items from World War II, consider donating them to the museum so they can be shared with the public. We are always on the lookout for unique and interesting memorabilia.
Your donation will help future generations understand an important part of our history. Just as important, our curatorial staff will ensure your treasures are properly preserved and well protected for years to come. All you need to do is send us a note and let us know what you’d like to donate. Your donation of goods may be tax deductible. Consult your tax advisor for details on your specific situation.
Visiting the museum
The museum is located next to the Lacey Lady’s restoration facility (Hangar C) at McNary Field (Salem Municipal Airport), 3278 25th Street SE, Salem, Oregon. Use the main terminal entrance, go to the stop sign and turn right. Park in the Civil Air Patrol parking lot and call 971-803-2428. A volunteer docent will greet you and escort you across the parking lot to the museum and hangar. If you have any special requirements, such as wheelchair access, please let know when you call and we will gladly accommodate you.
Our regular hours are Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Group tours are available by appointment. A suggested donation of $10 per person will help defray our operating expenses and would be greatly appreciated. Annual memberships are also available.
From time to time we also host special events on the museum grounds. For the latest information, check our home page or, better yet, join our mailing list and like our page on Facebook. We respect your time and privacy. Under no circumstances will we ever sell or share our mailing list. Your email address will only be used to send you occasional updates (no more than one per month) about the Lacey Lady’s progress and events of interest to World War II history buffs.
For more information or to reserve time for a group tour, contact Terry Scott, 503-654-6491.