Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site | HANGAR 2 MUSEUM

Hangar 2 at Moton Field

Hangar 2 at Moton Field

Hangar 2 at Moton Field was built in 1944 in response to the expansion of the Tuskegee training program. Today it serves as one of two museum buildings at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, with exhibits focusing on the Airmen’s combat experience and what became known as the Double-V—Victory at War and Victory at Home (Civil Rights). The park’s book and souvenir store is also located inside.

Hangar 2 museum

Hangar 2 museum

The Hangar 2 Museum picks up where the Hangar 1 Museum left off (inception and basic training). Advanced training is covered in the first section of the museum, and subjects progress to the actual combat experience as you proceed through the exhibits. This is where visitors first encounter the Red Tail moniker. A replica of a Red Tail-painted P-51 is the centerpiece of the museum.

P-51 replica on display in Hangar 2

P-51 replica on display in Hangar 2

P-51 replica on display in Hangar 2

P-51 replica on display in Hangar 2

Exhibits in Hangar 2 at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Exhibits in Hangar 2 at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site

Information panel at the Hangar 2 museum

Information panel at the Hangar 2 museum

A large part of the museum is dedicated to the fight for equal treatment in the military. The exhibits tell the story of the discrimination the Airmen and crew endured during and after the war.

Information panel about discrimination endured by the Tuskegee pilots and crew

Information panel about discrimination endured by the Tuskegee pilots and crew

Information panel in the Hangar 2 Museum

Information panel in the Hangar 2 Museum

The final section of the museum covers the post-war legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Exhibits tell of continued discrimination after the men returned home, as well as about post-war accomplishments and contributions to society by various Airmen.

Information panel in the Hangar 2 Museum

Information panel in the Hangar 2 Museum

Information panel in the Hangar 2 Museum

Information panel in the Hangar 2 Museum

Tuskegee Airmen in pop culture

Tuskegee Airmen in pop culture

A 27-minute film about the Tuskegee Airmen is shown in the Hangar 2 movie theater. The film combines historical footage, interviews with surviving Airmen, actual actors, and CGI dog fights just like a real World War II Hollywood movie. It is an entertaining film and gives a great overview of the Tuskegee Airmen program, but its inherent, unavoidable shortcoming is that it must compress eight years of time—the number of years the Tuskegee Airmen program was around—into a half-hour documentary. If you really want to learn the nuts and bolts of the program, you must spend time in the two museums.

Because of the PG-war violence and a few scenes of overtly racist behavior, the film is not suitable for very young children. I would recommend it for those 10 and older.

Park movie theater

Park movie theater

Another huge part of the museum, and one that can potentially take up most of your time, are video interviews with surviving Airmen. There are four stations, each with three videos that run about 20 minutes (total for the three). That’s nearly 1.5 hour’s worth of video programs alone, not to mention the 27-minute park film.

Multiple video programs are available at the Hangar 2 museum

Multiple video programs are available at the Hangar 2 museum

Video interview with a former Tuskegee Airman

Video interview with a former Tuskegee Airman

Most of Hangar 2 burned down in 1989, so what stands today is a reconstruction of the original building. The air control tower at the back of the building was the only section to survive. Visitors can walk up four flights of stairs to the top for a view of the air field. There are plenty of wasps on the outside, but I have been up there twice and found that if you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you. However, if you are allergic to wasp stings, don’t risk it. Don’t even walk up the enclosed portion of the tower because wasps are inside as well, having been trapped there when they got in through an open door.

Stairway to the top of the Control Tower

Stairway to the top of the Control Tower

View of Hangar 1 and Moton Field from the top of the Control Tower

View of Hangar 1 and Moton Field from the top of the Control Tower

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

I spent three hours in the museum, which allowed me to read through all of the exhibits, watch all of the video interviews and the park film, and visit the control tower. I know most people aren’t that diligent, but I would suggest at least watching the park film and a few of the interviews in addition to browsing the exhibits. For this minimal effort, plan to spend at least an hour at the Hangar 2 Museum.

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Last updated on February 21, 2020
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