Ribbon cutting for newly renovated Patuxent River Museum

Lexington Park, MD- Representative Steny Hoyer, along with members of the St. Mary’s County Board of Comissioners, attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, Dec. 4 for the newly renovated Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.

The museum welcomes more than 25,000 visitors a year and is the “gateway” to Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The new Test and Evaluation Hall was opened in the spring of 2016, meanwhile, major construction and renovations were underway in both the newly named Flight Technology Hall and the Collections Management Facility.

Vice president of the museum association, Pete Butt, welcome the distinguished guests and highlighted the changes visitors will notice—and some they will not.

The Flight Technology Hall still features the popular flight simulators, display of jet engines, and hands-on cockpit experiences for children. Part of the hall is being dedicated exclusively to the future of Naval Aviation—Unmanned Aerial Systems—or UAS.

The front part of the hall will featured aircraft carrier exhibits as well as a collection of ejection seats used in various military aircraft. The hall also received repairs to the roof, an upgraded sprinkler system, a new HVAC system and new LED lighting. All of these systems will reduce the operating costs associated with the building.

In the Collection Management Facility, most museum visitors will never see the improvements. This is where much of the behind the scenes work will take place as the museum volunteers and staff prepare new exhibits and catalog historic films, photographs and books. The building received new insulation, new efficiency lighting, a new concrete floor, new fire alarm and a new humidity and climate controlled archive storage.

St. Mary’s County Commissioner President Randy Guy spoke with after touring the upgraded facilities. “This is a very important event. Three years ago, this museum was hardly anything. The commissioners fully supported the new building and renovations to the existing buildings. It’s a great facility.”

Guy said this museum isn’t just important for tourism but for helping to shape young minds. “It gives young people a chance to see this technology and gets them more involved.” For the people who do not have base access, they’ll never see what’s happening at Pax River, “This gives them an idea of what is happening on base and it gets children involved in what’s taking place here—it’s the wave of the future,” Guy noted.

Hoyer highlighted why the museum is important to both NAS Patuxent River and Southern Maryland. “Pax has emerged as a leading hub for UAS, that’s the future, and we’ll remain at the center of global security.” Hoyer also pointed out the significant role the museum plays as it better equips the public with the story about cutting edge technology. “Pax River will keep growing and keep making Naval history and it will be preserved and taught right here.”

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Statement from Congressman Hoyer:

“I was glad to be in Southern Maryland this morning to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new annex buildings at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum and Visitors Center,” said Congressman Hoyer. “This impressive museum does an outstanding job of sharing the history of Naval Air Station Patuxent River with members of the public. These new spaces will help attract visitors to St. Mary’s County and Southern Maryland, bringing new opportunities for local business and workers. The Museum represents a real partnership between the Navy, local leaders, and the business community, and I was proud to help secure funding for the Museum.”

“I join in congratulating the Museum on these exciting new updates, which will enable the Museum to continue to tell the story of NAS Pax River’s contributions to our national security,” continued Congressman Hoyer. “I thank everyone who has worked hard to reach this important milestone for the Museum, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, and the Southern Maryland community.”

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