Airport Commission To Discuss Museum
In an information item to the City Council, Robert D. Trimborn, acting airport director, reported some movement toward the restoration of the Museum of Flying.
Founded as the Donald Douglas Museum and Library in 1974, it was located south of Airport Avenue in a building now occupied by Santa Monica College. In May 1987, the City entered into an agreement with Supermarine of Santa Monica that called for Supermarine to construct space to house what became the Museum of Flying,
It operated in the Supermarine complex from April, 1989, to July, 2002, when operations were suspended, owing to lack of “funding sources for insurance, labor and other operating costs.”
City staff and Supermarine management subsequently discussed the possibility of moving the museum back to the Airport. Supermarine countered with a proposal that it reconfigure its premises so that it could continue to house the Museum at no cost In return, it would receive an operating subsidy for the Museum for the term of its sublease with Supermarine.
The plan calls for relocating the Museum into hangar space directly across a ramp from its previous location. The proposed new space is smaller — approximately 12,000 square feet – but sufficient to house the aviation exhibits and related memorabilia.
However, during the discussions, problems emerged, owing to its proximity to an area through which aircraft moved, which would require structural upgrades to meet codes, such as fire regulations for facilities open to the public.
A second option, the relocation of the Museum of Flying to a large hangar at 3011 Airport Avenue on the south side of the Airport, was then examined by Supermarine, the Museum of Flying and City staff.
Airport staff will present the two options at a public hearing at the Airport Commission meeting on Monday, June 25. Following the Airport Commission meeting, a decision will be made as to which site would provide the most accessibility to the public and the greatest opportunity for the successful operation of the Museum. If the Airport Avenue option is selected, staff will ask he City Council to approve a lease with the Museum of Flying for that site. If the other option is selected, staff will return to City Council with a proposed facility improvement plan.