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Barksdale museum rebirth aims to touch a wide audience

Amy Russell 2.jpg
Kate Archer Kent

Thousands of visitors go through the Barksdale Global Power Museum each month. Director Amy Russell is charged with renovating the museum, and some exhibits haven’t been changed out since it opened in 1978. Through the updates, Russell aims to make the museum resonate with a wide audience.

“You want that 80-year-old to really feel nostalgic about what they’re seeing because they’re the ones who did it. They’re the ones who were flying those B-17s," Russell said. "Then, you’ve got the 10-year-old. You want him to get excited and leave this place saying, ‘Mom, I want to join the Air Force when I grow up!’ You want to hit both of them, and then you have to hit everyone in between.”

The museum will become more interactive. In one room museumgoers will be able to stand behind the podium that President George W. Bush used to deliver his 9/11 address to the nation. Russell plans to put the speech on the podium, and she said a touch screen will display a timeline of the September 11 attacks.

“There are these moments in history, these places where history happens, and to be able to stand there is just a really amazing feeling. No matter how you feel about the person or the event, it’s just an incredible feeling to be able to stand there," Russell said.

The museum is staying open during renovations. Russell said the first updated exhibit will be what she calls the “where are we now” room showcasing the modern day Air Force. It will be finished in April.

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