The mission of the TWA Museum is to provide information to the public emphasizing the story, history and importance of the major role TWA played in pioneering commercial aviation. From the birth of airmail to the inception of passenger air travel, to the post-WWII era of global route expansion, TWA led the way for 75 years. The great influence that Trans World Airlines has had on MKC, and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, is one that history can never ignore.
The TWA Museum’s goal is to ensure a permanent, expanding and professionally exhibited collection of artifacts that bring the story of TWA to life here in Kansas City, where it all began. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the legacy of Trans World Airlines’ leadership in the world of commercial aviation.
Instrument Shop mechanic Tom Perry collected TWA items for many years and displayed them throughout the Trans World Airlines MCI Overhaul Base. TWA eventually donated a large space for Tom’s collection near the employee cafeteria in the MCI Overhaul Base. The employees built a special case that exhibited his many items. The opening of the TWA Museum highlighted the pride that was – and still is – typical of virtually all former TWA employees and customers.
Trans World Airlines was a major sponsor for the 1996 celebration of the Smithsonian’s 150th Anniversary, and the TWA Museum’s collection traveled to twelve cities over a period of two years as part of “America’s Smithsonian” Exhibit.
Over the years, with the closing of TWA’s Kansas City Administration Center, the St. Louis Training Center and the Overhaul Base all museum items and displays came together at the Kansas City Expo Center. The TWA Museum became a Chapter of the Platte County Historical Society in 1985 and was under the direction of Marie Trainer. In 2010, Pam Blaschum took over the direction of the TWA Museum and, with Pat Brinkman, worked diligently to secure a space for the TWA Museum in the original building that was built in 1931 to accommodate the newly formed TWA corporate headquarters. Under the direction of Zana Allen, assisted by Karen Martin, the process of securing the Museum’s own 501(c)3 status was completed in May 2013. In August 2013, the TWA Museum was granted its separate 501(c)3 status. A great big thank you to Tom Perry and the Perry Family, and the Platte County Historical Society and its Board, for preserving the history of TWA and protecting its artifacts. The memory of TWA has been assured a place in history through the TWA Museum at 10 Richards Road.
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