The Aviation Museum of Kentucky
Celebrating the Past

1988 Board members

Since its founding in 1978, members of the Kentucky Aviation History Roundtable have dreamed of an aviation museum. To this end, the group was incorporated in 1981 as the Kentucky Aviation History Round Table. 1984 the IRS granted 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt status. On 10/7/1991, the name was amended and changed to The Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Inc. On April 5, 1994, the General Assembly designated the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame as the Commonwealth's official Aviation Hall of Fame. On April 15, 1995, the dream came true, and the Museum first opened its doors to the public with the help of the Dolittle Raiders annual convention held at the Museum. Since then, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky has welcomed guests from all 50 states and over 140 foreign countries. On March 24, 2006, Kentucky's General Assembly designated The Aviation Museum of Kentucky as the official aviation for the Commonwealth. We have grown to contribute immeasurably to the public understanding of and enthusiasm for aviation and industry that, as reported for 2017, contributed $10.3 billion to Kentucky's economy and supported 129,000 Kentucky jobs, which is even greater today. Our mission is essential to educating young people about aviation career potential. The industry has thousands of career jobs, such as pilots, mechanics, executives, secretaries, instructors, engineers, clerks, controllers, flight attendants, meteorologists, travel agents, freight handlers, and med-evac professionals, and the list continues.

But our mission extends across the entire educational spectrum, not just to career counseling. Our changing exhibits attract students to Lexington's Blue Grass Airport each year. Visitors learn about the science of flight and its history. They learn how Kentucky has helped shape the field that has so shaped the world. Aviation gives meaning and purpose to the study of math, physics, biology, geography, and more. Academically, studying flight supports and strengthens a wide variety of classroom subjects. Our "Learning through Aviation" program offers educators tools to incorporate aviation studies into the classroom curriculum. The AMK's Aviation Summer Camp gives 10- to 17-year-olds a hands-on introduction to the sky. Hundreds of youngsters study flight with our professional educators every year, and then they go aloft with licensed instructors. To some, it's a summer adventure. To others, this is the start of a lifelong career or a satisfying hobby. And through the Museum's scholarship program, nearly a third of all campers attend at no charge. In  2022, with support from local communities, we held camps in Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Pikeville, and Erlanger. Students attend from Kentucky and beyond.

The Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame recognizes the Commonwealths, aviation achievers. Over one hundred Kentuckians have been honored, with more nominees introduced yearly. The Hall of Fame has honored WASPs, warriors, executives and designers, instructors and astronauts, politicians, and spies. Some enshrinees have changed aviation. Matthew Sellers of Carter County gave us retractable landing gear. Solomon Van Meter of Lexington gave us the life-saving pack parachute. Others have changed the world: Noel Parrish of Versailles led the legendary Tuskegee Airmen out of segregation and into history.

Historic Aviation events have become an AMK tradition. Restored barnstormers, vintage airliners, and historic Warbirds attract visitors to the Museum each year. Some visitors are seniors showing their grandchildren the planes they flew (or maintained or built). Some are aviation buffs who love these grand old aircraft. Others are young parents who want their children to understand Americans' sacrifices for freedom.  
Our quarterly lectures have been a tradition since our founding. Speakers come from around the region and around the world to share their knowledge and tell their stories. AMK quarterly meetings are open to the public; they have helped build Museum membership from a handful in 1978 to over 600 today.

Inspiring the Future

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is an asset to the state, the industry, and the nation. Our programs increase and improve every year. Our volunteers are enthusiastic, our board is involved, our membership is supportive, and our staff makes good use of the Museum's limited resources. Our Museum's building at Blue Grass Field is a former FBO hangar; it was never designed for use that a Museum would expect to see. It was built before ADA codes were established, so it offers only limited access to the disabled. Most importantly, we have outgrown our display space, our office space, and our storage space. It is not good business to retrofit a 40-year-old building into something it was never meant to be, so we are raising funds for a  new, custom-designed facility. The new Aviation Museum of Kentucky will be built in WestLex area of Blue Grass Airport and will meet the needs of those thousands whose lives we enrich through aviation. 

We welcome you to join us in building a limitless future. The Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization; your gift is tax-deductible.