Strategic Air Command, B-52 Stratofortress and B-47 airplanes at Castle Air Force Base, Atwater.
B-47 military bomber airplane at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, California
Aerial photo of the Castle Air Museum and our airplanes in Merced and Atwater.

OUR HISTORY

A visit to the Castle Air Museum gives visitors a peek into the past and lends insight into the evolution of aircraft to glimpse the past milestones of aviation and to imagine what the future of aerospace might hold.

Castle Air Museum is one of the largest aviation museums on the West Coast and is located in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley, adjacent to the former Castle Air Force Base (now Castle Airport). The museum opened to the public in 1981 as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with a mission “to preserve military aviation heritage for future generations.” Today the museum has evolved into a premier destination for families, history buffs, schools, tourists, and aviation enthusiasts alike.

Our collection encompasses nearly sixty restored vintage military aircraft ranging from pre-WWII to the present on approximately twenty acres of beautifully-maintained grounds. Locating, restoring, preserving and displaying these historic treasures is a real challenge.  Often, an aircraft is acquired in pieces from diverse locations, shipped to the museum, and under the direction of knowledgeable volunteers, lovingly restored to the aircraft’s former grandeur. These aircraft, prior to being preserved at Castle Air Museum, have survived neglect and  escaped the salvage torch to remain a testimonial to all who have served and defended our nation’s rights, and those of America’s allies to pursue freedom and democracy. In addition to the outdoor displays the museum is complimented by an indoor museum which houses a fascinating collection of wartime memorabilia including aircraft engines, military uniforms, historic photos, and personal military artifacts from the past century.

To maintain the museum and to acquire aircraft requires a constant fundraising effort, as the museum does not receive any funds from government sources. It is because of the enthusiasm and generosity of local businesses, individuals, volunteers, and members that Castle Air Museum has developed into a premier showcase of our nation’s military aeronautical history.