The Secretary of the Air Force activated the Air Force Heritage Program in 1979. Hill AFB became involved in 1981 and plans were made for a future museum. In 1984, the groundbreaking ceremony was held on a 36-acre site on the Northwest corner of Hill AFB. The Roy Gate. This is in a section of Hill that was formerly a part of the Ogden Arsenal, which became a part of hill AFB in 1957. Later, the initial site was increased to approximately 50 acres by addition to the south of the existing property.
The mission was to preserve the aircraft, missiles, artifacts, documents, photographs, and artwork, which make up the rich heritage of Hill AFB and the United States Air Force. The Air Force had finally realized that much of its heritage was being lost by not encouraging a formal program to preserve its rather brief history. Not discounting the Smithsonian, but at this time there was really only one place where the USAF heritage was preserved, at the Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio.
And now, the real reason for the museum system is – education of the public about aerospace and air power pays off in advocacy for airpower! This means more money for all Air Force programs. And it really helps recruiting.
The Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah is a non-profit, 501 C (3) organization – (This means that contributions made to the foundation are generally tax deductible depending on the donor’s individual circumstances.) and was founded in 1983, two years after Hill AFB began their program. The deal here is the Air Force wanted a Heritage Program and Hill AFB wanted a heritage program but could not afford the cost.
The foundation had a board of directors consisting of 22 members, who included retired military; DOD retired civilians, industry executives and members of the local Ogden area community.
The mission of the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah is to provide funding for the museum for facility improvements and expansion and for those projects for which USAF funding is not available. Today the foundation continues to provide support for the museum in various ways, including finding and acquiring vintage aircraft for restoration and display.
A good example of this is the early aviation display that was in process. This exhibit features a chronology of early aviation from the Wright Brothers first flight up to World War II. Within the display, major milestones in the life of Frank M. Browning, an incredible story.