The last time I visited the Owls Head Transportation Museum was back in the early 1990’s when I lived in Maine. This past week, I was back in Maine once again on vacation and I was anxious to pay a return visit to the museum in order to check out the airplane action. After 25 years away, I am happy to report that the museum is still going strong and the airplanes are still as beautiful as before!
The Owls Head Transportation Museums’ mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit and operate pre-1940 aircraft, ground vehicles, engines and related technologies significant to the evolution of transportation for the purpose of education. While the ground vehicles, engines and related technologies at the museum are impressive in their own right, the focus of my visit was on the aviation aspects of the museum. Besides having a collection of airplanes on display, the museum has an aircraft restoration workshop which maintains the current inventory of aircraft and restores other planes to be added to the collection. I was impressed by the organization and cleanliness of the workshop which is very conducive to efficient work on their aircraft collection.
But what is unique to the museum is that virtually all the aircraft still fly! Unlike many transportation museums, the Owls Head Transportation Museum operates their collection of aircraft, ground vehicles and engines at a number of special events conducted throughout the year. Care and maintenance of these historic vehicles requires the attention of a large volunteer workforce that, under the supervision of a professional staff, ensures that their collection is in operating condition. While the Museum is open all year, the summer event season offers an unparalleled opportunity to see their collection in action during scheduled airshows and ground vehicle demonstrations. There were no flights scheduled during my visit, however, the restoration workshop crew was very busy conducting annual inspections and doing maintenance work on several aircraft in preparation for the upcoming events season.
During my tour of the restoration workshop, I was very fortunate to meet Bob Bailey, who, as the Aviation Curator for the museum, runs the restoration workshop. He spent a good bit of time with me discussing the museum, their operations, the planes, his history in aviation, and his current role with the museum. I really enjoyed my conversations with him and feel good knowing that the care and feeding of these venerable aircraft are in such capable hands as his. Thanks for the time, Bob!
My only regret with my visit is the realization that I live too far away from the museum to be actively engaged in the volunteer operations or restoration activities of it. However, I do look forward to visiting again in the future.
You can view information about the museum at their website here: Owls Head
And you can check out photos from my visit here or above. The photos are displayed in both a ‘Gallery’ format (above) for quickly scanning thru them and also in a captioned ‘Light box’ format (below) which allows for zooming in on individual pictures by clicking on them.
(Click on photos to zoom in on them)