About the Campaign

OCTOBER, 2014:

Together, we’ve written another amazing chapter in the history of Willow Run. But your support is still needed…

October 30, 2014:  We are excited to announce today that our portion of the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant is to be preserved as a NEW home for the Yankee Air Museum (read the details at this link), and we extend a heartfelt thanks to the many amazing people and organizations who helped us make this happen. It could not have been accomplished without you! But, your support is still needed…

Together, we’ve preserved Rosie’s factory, now it’s time to fill it with history!

Together, with overwhelming nationwide support, we’ve raised the funds to preserve and convert 144,000 sq. ft. of the Bomber Plant into a fully-independent, fully-functional building. Now we need to build the interior facilities and exhibits of the exciting new museum that we have planned!

If these walls could talk… they’d tell a story. Of American know-how. Of social change. Of a country that pulled together, to get a tough job done. It’s a story to inspire future generations. Let’s tell it at Willow Run!

You, too, can still be a part of this great effort … just click here to join thousands who have contributed already.
save-bomber-plant-beautiful-certificate-4It’s definitely not too late to “Do Your Part” by DONATING, and receive your official Preservation Certificate… proof that YOU helped Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant! You can dedicate your gift in honor of your own personal hero or heroine.

The Campaign’s Mission

The purpose of the Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant Campaign is to mobilize the resources needed to “separate” (which means to acquire, enclose, secure and power up) roughly 175,000 square feet of the 5 million square foot former Willow Run Bomber Plant, to eventually become the new home of the Yankee Air Museum.

The Yankee Air Museum, based on the eastern edge of Willow Run Airport since 1981, houses aviation- and history-related exhibits and programs, and preserves and maintains a small fleet of WWII-era flyable aircraft, including the majestic Yankee Lady B-17. Yankee has a collection of static aircraft on display, and hosts the popular Thunder Over Michigan Air Show every August.

Although this area of Willow Run that we are trying to preserve is large enough to house the Yankee Air Museum, with its exhibits, collections, and aircraft, it is less than 5% of the colossal, 5 million sq.ft. Willow Run Plant, with its one-mile-long assembly line, which was the largest factory under one roof when it was built, and still among the largest factories in the word today.

The purchase cost of the building is generously low, but the cost involved in making “our” part of the building viable, by closing it off and recreating utilities once the rest of the building is gone, is unavoidably high. Yankee must demonstrate that it can raise the funds to make this dream a reality before we can be granted permission to purchase this portion of the plant.

Campaign History

At the start of this effort, “separation costs” for the portion of the building Yankee Air Museum wants to save were estimated at $8 million, and close to $3 million in project savings and past giving was already available to help meet those costs. As the campaign kicked off in mid-May, 2013, and this website went online, that left us with a need to raise $5 million in additional funding before August October November May 1, 2014. With great fundraising progress and popular support demonstrated as the campaign progressed, the original August 1 deadline was extended several times, finally landing on a May 1, 2014 deadline, which was necessarily final, since demolition of the plant commenced in September, 2013, and was scheduled to proceed throughout the winter and spring. The building’s owners [RACER Trust] in conjunction with its contractors, configured the demolition work to spare “our” portion of the plant until the last moment, to allow us as much time as possible to raise funds. The campaign to Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant has received incredible media coverage and support at the local, state and national level, and has inspired people of all ages, from all walks of life, to “help save Rosie’s factory.”

Willow Run: a Storied Past, and a Bright Future

In September, 2013, Willow Run’s owners announced that most of Willow Run had been optioned to a buyer who will redevelop the property as a testing facility for futuristic connected vehicles (cars that talk to each other via computer, in order to pretty much drive themselves.) At that time, the portion of the Plant that Yankee Air Museum wanted to save was held back from the sale, in order to give us more time to raise the funds necessary.

A research and testing center for the next generation of smart vehicles, alongside a museum honoring the site’s historic industrial past, would create an exciting and fitting new chapter for Willow Run. This would not only honor, but continue Willow Run’s legacy of breakthrough manufacturing innovation, with the past and the future of manufacturing technology showcased side-by-side, to revitalize and inspire the present.

Is a Museum at Willow Run impossible? Not at all! Support for the cause has been overwhelmingly positive, and we have raised the funds necessary to buy, preserve, and secure 144,00 sq. ft. of the massive facility as a NEW home for the Yankee Air Museum.

Now, we have to finish the job by raising the funds necessary to turn our big, historic box into a Museum, by renovating the interior and populating it with exciting exhibits.

So help preserve and transform as many square feet of this historic treasure as you can, and be a part of the nationwide effort to Save The Bomber Plant!

Eight million dollars is a big number… together, we did it! Now, let’s finish the job!
Do your part. Click on the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!

How Does My Gift Help?

Every $50 preserves 1 square foot of the Bomber Plant, so…

  • $50 preserves 1 sq. ft.
  • $100 preserves 2 sq. ft.
  • $250 preserves 5 sq. ft.
  • $500 preserves 10 sq. ft.
  • $1,000 preserves 20 sq. ft.
  • $2,500 preserves 50 sq. ft.
  • $5,000 preserves 100 sq. ft.
And, just as the Willow Run workers helped win World War II…
together, we can do it!

Do your part. Click on the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!

Thank you!
The Michigan Aerospace Foundation
The Yankee Air Museum
Campaign Co-chairmen Astronaut Jack Lousma and former GM Executive Bob Lutz