Tulsa Museum Now Has More Air, More Space - More Visitors

Article excerpt

Just six months into 2006, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum had already broken its yearly attendance record.

TASM opened its new facility, the Sherman and Ellie Smith Hangar One Museum, last year and opened a 110-seat planetarium and Electric Sky Theater in an adjacent building in April.

Both buildings are located on about 17 acres across the street from Mohawk Park and the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum. The facilities are much more visible to travelers than the museum's former home near the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology.

Katheryn Pennington, TASM executive director, said that aside from the obvious attendance boost spurred by the better location and the opening of the new planetarium, the significant upgrade from the former facility, a 1940s-era hangar with no air conditioning, has also helped.

People used to walk into the old place, realize there was no air conditioning and just turn right back around, Pennington said.

But times have changed for the museum. With a climate-controlled building and double the exhibit space of the old facility, not to mention a state-of-the-art planetarium, the visitors keep filing in.

Through the first six months of 2006, museum officials reported 32,000 visitors had paid admission, which is between $4 and $6 depending on age. The figure is already ahead of the 26,000 who visited in 2005, the museum's first year in its new facility. Before the move, the museum averaged around 23,000 visitors per year. …