As one of the oldest continually operating airfields in the United States, Pearson Field is the perfect venue for a museum dedicated to the history and development of aviation. The Pearson Air Museum pays tribute to the milestones in aviation history that took place at Pearson Field and provides interesting information on aviation in the Pacific Northwest, along with displays of vintage aircraft, including the world’s first bomber, an interactive science center, aviation movies and a flight simulator lab.
The museum offers visitors a glimpse into the early years of aviation, when pioneering pilots in their open-cockpit aircraft were the dare-devil heroes to pave the way for future developments. Exhibits include a 1913 Viosin III (one of only three worldwide); a 1941 DeHavilland Tiger Moth; a 1932 Fleet II; a 1941 Ryan Recruit; a 1941 Boeing Stearman; a 1942 Myers OTW; a 1943 AT-6D/SNJ-5 Texan; a 1979 Baby Great Lakes; a Formula One Air Racer; Piper L-4 Grasshopper; a reproduction of a Fokker DR-1; and a 1953 Cessna 170 which flew around the world in 1956-1957.
Visitors can view the world’s first bomber and the 1918 wooden hanger which is the second oldest of its kind in the United States. The reproduction World-War I-era Fokker DR-1 Tri-plane is the same type of aircraft flown by the infamous Red Baron. Exhibits include a variety of aviation paraphernalia including priceless Russian Transpolar Flight memorabilia. Aircraft in the hangar are all in working condition, with many having served as World War II trainers for beginner and advanced pilots.
With the theme of “Learn from the past. Prepare for the future.” the museum encourages class field trips and an educational coordinator is on hand to discuss program options and reserve a date so that both teachers and students gain as much out of the experience as possible. The optimum size for a group of students is less than 20 students, but up to 40 can be accommodated.
The Pearson Air Museum is operated by the nonprofit organization, Fort Vancouver National Trust. Site hours are Wednesday-Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Helpful and informative volunteer museum guides are on hand to answer questions and offer additional information on the exhibits and the fascinating world of aviation.