Freeman Army Airfield Museum
By Larry Bothe, revised March 2010

Freeman Field has a delightful little museum dedicated to preserving the history of the cadets who trained here during World War II.

Freeman Field has a delightful little museum dedicated to preserving the history of the cadets who trained here during World War II. The museum was started in 1996 by a dedicated group of local residents including Jack Hildreth, Ted Jordan, Harry Knight, Lou Osterman, Lou Thole and Al Seibert. The Airport Authority authorized the use of one of the old WW-II Link trainer buildings adjacent to the manager’s office. The museum opened for the first time in August of 1997 for a tour by some Tuskegee Airmen. The rooms gradually filled up with displays as local residents came forward to donate items that were stored in their attics. The cadet reunion held every other year for pilots and others who were stationed here in Seymour during WW-II has yielded a number of artifacts as the cadets brought or sent things to donate.

By 2002 the original building was pretty well filled up. It happened that a long-time tenant vacated another of the Link trainer buildings, and the Airport Authority assigned that building to the museum as well. One of the two original base fire trucks was purchased by Harry Knight and put into the new building. The airport maintenance staff repaired the exterior of the building, but the interior needed a lot of work. A grant was secured from the Community Foundation for the first stage of interior renovation and work was begun during the summer of 2003. Since that time renovations have progressed as money and time are available. The Museum Annex, as it is now called, was opened to the public in 2009. The fire truck was made roadworthy in late 2008 and is now run in parades and other local events.

The museum is usually open on Saturday mornings from 9:00 to noon. Other than Saturday mornings anyone interested in going through it should call the airport manager’s office at 812-522-2031 during normal business hours and ask to arrange a tour. After hours or on weekends send an e-mail to LBothe@comcast.net or call 812-521-7400. There is no charge to tour the museum, but donations are gratefully accepted. Note that the museum is a federally recognized 501.c.3 charity; which means that donations of any kind, cash or artifacts, are tax deductible. The museum is especially looking for WAC uniforms.

For more information about the history of Freeman Army Air Field, and to see pictures of most of the museum’s collections, please go to Jim West’s extensive website, http://www.indianamilitary.org/FreemanAAF/SoThinkMenu/FreemanSTART.htm.

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