P-38 Museum Remodel

Museum Upgrade!

The P-38 Museum in Riverside, CA, was created well over 20 years ago.

It was originally built from the hearts and with the generosity of dollars and labor by our original members (many of who were P‑38 pilots, crew or Lockheed designers or engineers).

But our original design and contents have been outpaced by time and technology.  So, we decided it needed a facelift.

However, we are doing much more than that. A complete remodel was called for, and we believe that once we’ve completed our work the Museum will be something that everyone will love, including those who remain from our original Museum creators.

We are moving everything out of the Museum (except the plane!) and repairing, and resurfacing the floor for starters.

After that we will begin building an entirely new interior to the Museum. It will have a redesigned floorplan that we know our visitors are going to love!

We are adding many monitors, new displays and will be upgrading some of our current exhibits.  It is sure to please the P‑38 fans, young and old, who visit us once the remodel is completed.

Grand Reopening

The remodel project is taking much longer than we anticipated. We’ll announce here when the reopening will happen.  In the meantime, we are in urgent need of more volunteers to help with the project. If you have some time to help volunteer, please let us know and we’ll be in touch to coordinate a good time.

When you click on the thumbnail +, it will take you to a larger version of the photo. Just click the x at the top to close and come back here.

Donations Welcome

All of this, of course, is costing a pretty penny!

Since we do not receive any $$$ support from Lockheed, the USAF or the March Field Air Museum, every little bit of support from our fans will help to cover the cost of this remodel.

Whenever you see this dollar sign throughout this section, clicking on it will take you to our Remodel Donations page.

Once there, you will be offered the option to choose among an $80 donation, a $38 donation (for the P‑38, of course!) or an amount of your choosing. Just click on the button you prefer.

Every donation will help us to offset the very significant cost of this remodelling of the P‑38 Museum. Seriously, every donation.

To celebrate the upcoming 80th Anniversary of the P‑38s first flight, anyone donating $80 will receive a free P‑38 embroidered hat!

Embroidered P‑38 Lightning hat

(And just a reminder that we do not receive any funding from the USAF, Lockheed or the March Field Air Museum, so your help really counts with us!) 
Thank you!

Progress report

This will give you a pictorial idea of what’s involved in this massive project.

Planning Meeting

The Move Begins

Almost There

Moving Day

A Challenge!

Final Dismantle

The Real Work Begins


The Rebuild


Nearing the End


* *Update – We’re finished & the Museum is once again open to the public!

Planning Meeting | July 28, 2018

Before we even began the remodel we had a “planning meeting” BBQ to get things started on the right foot. Good food, good spirits, and good friends were an excellent way to figure out who was doing what and when.

Everything you see below was done by our P‑38 Association volunteers, with the exception of the final move, for which we hired a moving company to ensure the safety of any of the largest exhibits that we felt should be moved by pros.

The Move Begins | August 4, 2018

In the early days of the move, we had quite a project ahead of us. The “panels” that were used to display photos, clippings, etc., were 8′ tall and very unwieldy.

One of us got clobbered in the face when it fell on top of her!  Not fun. But well worthwhile any battle scars in the end.

Almost There! | August 5-10
One of the dicey situations we ran into when moving everything into storage was trying to transport this P‑38 propeller. It was recovered from the floor of the Pacific after having been under seawater for several decades. You can image the delicate shape it is in. So, we decided to let the pros handle this move.  (It was moved and stored safely and will be returning to a place of prominence in the new design.)

Moving Day! | August 11

The professional movers arrived today to finish moving the heaviest items. As you can see, we’re leaving the plane in the Museum.  Won’t risk damaging it, ever!

A Challenge

We thought that the March Field diorama ( circa 1942-43) would be a bear to move since it was so large.  Turned out to be the easiest one.  The toughie was the Willsie-Andrews exhibit of their Romanian Rescue Operation.  I was much narrower and more unwieldy than we realized until we began to lift it.  But it was successfully moved to storage undamaged.

Final Dismantle | August 24

Virtually everything that can be moved out of the Museum has been moved.  The final step before the real work begins is dismantling the large wall panel at the back of the hangar.

The Real Work Begins | August 25

More to be posted soon…

Save the P-38

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