Groundbreaking ceremony held for Selfridge Aviation Education Center

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published October 12, 2021

 The model building on the right depicts where the Selfridge Military Air Museum Aviation Education Center will be located. The plan is for it to open in the spring.

The model building on the right depicts where the Selfridge Military Air Museum Aviation Education Center will be located. The plan is for it to open in the spring.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The goal is for it to serve as a place to learn about aviation and the physics of flying.

On Sept. 30, an Aviation Education Center groundbreaking ceremony took place at Selfridge Military Air Museum.

The museum is located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township.

Brig. Gen. Rolf Mammen, 127th Wing Commander, said Selfridge is always trying to connect for the next 100 years.

“These are wonderful artifacts of our history and part of our culture, and hopefully the museum and education center will inspire the next generation to either serve or be great supporters of this great institution of Selfridge,” he said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mammen explained that culture is organizational values that drive the norms that drive the artifacts.

“Every decision I make is an artifact,” he said. “When you look at this museum, these are all artifacts of a culture of excellence in the United States Air Force.”  

At the center, students and visitors will learn about the physics that allow aircraft to fly, learn about the different types of aircraft and be exposed to potential careers in aviation.

“Students will also have the opportunity to interact with aviators and learn firsthand what it takes to fly and maintain aircraft, as well,” a press release states.

The Aviation Education Center will feature multimedia instructional capabilities and will take advantage of historical artifacts and incorporate hands-on, interactive learning as effective teaching tools.

Museum Director Steve Mrozek said now was the right time to add the center to the museum because there’s a lot going on with the development of different kinds of technology.

“The museum has showcased the evolutions and developments in aviation technology, and this is one way to take it and turn it into a place not just for students, but adults, as well,” he said.

The 50-by-50 center will include pieces ranging from the days of World War I to present day.

“In it will be a classroom area for different programs and demonstrations,” Mrozek said. “We’ll explain a lot of the mysteries of aviation. In one place, we can compare and contrast and appreciate the technology as it evolved over a short period of time.”

He added that instructional programming will be supported by the museum’s collection of over 30 aircraft.

Mrozek mentioned that folks nowadays take flying for granted.

“There’s a whole lot as far as the physics is concerned and looking at the science, technology and engineering that goes into creating these aircraft to be able to perform at higher altitudes and speeds,” Mrozek said.

The center will also house a restored World War II 1943 Corsair fighter plane.

Mrozek pointed out that Selfridge is one of the oldest air bases in the U.S., originating in May 1917.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said there’s a great sense of pride with Selfridge.

“It’s so exciting to us to have this opportunity to see what they’re doing with the educational facility,” he said. “This component to the museum is going to be an opportunity for kids to come, and even people looking for a career change, to go through here and get an understanding of planes.”

The instructional programming at the Aviation Educational Center will be supported by the museum’s collection of 30 aircraft, spanning from 1917 to the present, which will serve as real tangible examples of aircraft design and engineering.

The nonprofit museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of the men and women who served at Selfridge and to inspire the next generation of aviation innovators.

Mrozek said the education center will open in the spring.

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