The P‑38 Museum is appropriately housed in an airplane hangar, adjacent to March Air Reserve Base in Southern California. It is named after and dedicated to Chief Test Pilot, Tony LeVier, who flew over 200 different types of aircraft, declaring the P‑38 to be his favorite! Read more about Tony LeVier.
In the beginning...
After the P‑38 National Association was founded in May of 1987, one of it's proudest accomplishments was building the Museum, which is supported on contributions of memorabilia and donations from the public and our Association Members.
The P‑38 Museum sits on a plot of land directly adjacent to the March Field Museum on one side and March Air Reserve Base on the other.
Construction on the Museum began in the late 80's and was supervised with perfection by P‑38 pilot, and former Association President, Dick Willsie. Have a look at the early construction photos of the Museum, and see what it looks like today! We have two sculptures on display -- one of Tony LeVier, which you can have engraved with your name or the name of a loved one, and another amazing P‑38 sculpture we donated to the March Air Museum that is displayed in their main courtyard! You can view a larger image of each sculpture by clicking on it.
The entire P‑38 Museum project was accomplished with volunteer man hours and volunteer dollars -- what an extraordinary accomplishment!
Sadly, we don't have the millions of dollars that it would take to purchase a P‑38, even if one could be found (no easy task with so few surviving these days). We did, however, originally have an airworthy Lightning on static in our museum (here's a photo), but it was ultimately sold to Ronald Fagen and is now in Minnesota, with the "Ruff Stuff" nose art.
Since our museum was built large enough to house the full-sized P‑38 replica, we bought one -- which is currently on exhibit.
There is also ample space for individual displays of the Fighter Squadrons, Fighter Groups and WASPs, members of each who have built and furnished their own displays within the Museum.
Each display houses historic, priceless photographs, antiques and memorabilia from WWII having to do with their specific outfits. There are genuine artifacts of all kinds. The entire history of the P‑38 Lightning can be found housed in this one facility. The walls are lined with countless photos of this beautiful aircraft and the men and women who built, maintained and flew it. Needless to say, these exhibits offer a unique opportunity for visitors to have a genuine "P‑38 Experience."
The photos alone are worth a trip to Riverside, but the Museum doesn't stop there. Each group has gathered original uniforms (with combat ribbons), parts from the aircraft, gas masks, canteens, aircrew scarves, maps and much more, all under the watchful eye of 24-hour live surveillance.