The opening of our museum in 2003 was especially significant as we commemorated 3 milestone anniversaries in transportation history: The 100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight; the 100th Anniversary of the Ford Motor Company and the 100th Anniversary of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company.
Imagine how far we’ve come with both wings and wheels. What would our world be like without these advances in technology? Do you think we could have a world with both horse-drawn carriages and computers? Probably not, because it took the mobility of people, and sharing knowledge to foster the birth of new ideas and inventions. We invite you to visit our campus: the buildings, the exhibits and the artifacts, to experience this fascinating time in transportation history! Most of all enjoy a day at the airport and witness the sights and sounds of early aviation at its best!
The unique campus consists of 12 acres adjacent to the Poplar Grove Airport. There are currently 5 vintage buildings which were moved from their original locations and re-erected and restored at the museum campus. This collection of vintage buildings and the location make this a unique transportation museum.
This automotive mechanics garage of the 1930’s is open as a vintage automobile dealership with a service shop in the rear of the building. Displays of antique tools and auto shop artifacts are in this building.
The Waukesha Hangar
The queen of the campus is the 75’ x 110’ Waukesha Hangar. This hangar was erected at the Waukesha, WI, Airport in 1937 as a WPA project. The building was carefully taken down and re-erected here in 2000, saving it from demolition. The Lannon stone of the exterior is a native Wisconsin limestone quarried near Waukesha. This hangar houses the museum’s artifacts and exhibits.
This is the small “T” hangar along the tree line at the south end of the campus. This hangar was originally built in the mid 1920’s at Hamilton Airfield in Milwaukee, WI, which later became Mitchell Field, Milwaukee’s major international airport. This example was typical of many single aircraft storage buildings of the time.
This 1930’s era metal box hangar with the curved roof was originally built at a private farm strip west of Springfield, IL. It is currently used by the museum’s Restoration Team (R-Team) as a workshop and YEA classroom.
Sunoco Filling Station
Sunoco built 200 of these small white buildings with blue and yellow trim in the early 1920’s. The construction is of steel with a porcelain coating, including the roof shingles. In front of the building there are two restored antique gasoline pumps of the same vintage. The gas station and pumps were restored by the museum’s R-Team!
Some of the Museum’s displays and artifacts include:
1890 Studebaker Horse Drawn Buggy
1928 Cessna AW
1928 Ford Model A Roadster
1930 LaSalle 2 passenger coup w/rumble seat
1931 Stinson Jr. S
1931 Corben Baby Ace
1942 Harley Davidson WLA
Wright signed check
Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone Radial Engine
Several small historic engines
Ford Model A, Mail Truck
And much more!
The second floor of the museum currently houses an extensive transportation library which is available for browsing during your visit. Museum members are welcome to check out library items.
Poplar Grove Vintage Wings and Wheel Museum offers programs to local youth. Introduction to Flight is a popular program.
Introduction to Flight
This program is held on Saturday mornings twice a year and is available to youth 10-
17 years of age. The program lasts approximately 3 hours and includes a tour of the Springfield Hangar to view current restoration projects, a ground school class on the “Theory of Flight”, and a hands-on preflight of a general aviation aircraft. Following this each youth receives an introductory flight (weather permitting). For information call Dennis Blunt 815-398-4274 to make a reservation (required).
Youth Exploring Aviation (YEA)
This program is open to youth ages 14-20 years. The bi-monthly meetings are held on Thursday evenings during the school year. This program offers an overview of a ground school which includes an introductory flight and a cross country flight. The program also includes field trips and other aviation related activities. There is a $10.00 annual fee plus nominal costs for some of the field trips. Currently, the museum has acquired an Aeronca Chief airplane project for the YEA to restore to flying status. YEA members will gain valuable hands-on experience restoring this aircraft. Grants and donations are being sought to make this dream a reality.
The museum awards scholarships each year for those pursuing a career in the aviation or automotive industry. See our website for more information. www.thevintagemuseum.com
Poplar Grove Vintage Wings and Wheel Museum would like you to join our family! Membership applications can be found on the Website or in the office. Membership entitles you to:
Free Admission to the Museum (Free admission excluded on event days)
10% discount in the Gift Shop
Free use of the picnic pavilion
Membership Levels: Student - $20; Individual - $25; Family - $35; Grandparent - $30; Corporate - $1,000
Non-Member Museum Admission Fees: Adult 18-59 - $5; Senior Citizen 60+ - $4; Children 6 - 17 - $3; Children under 6 – FREE
Museum Hours: Monday through Friday 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM; Saturdays from May through October 10:00 AM to 1 PM.
Volunteers are the life force of the museum campus! Consider becoming a part of our museum family and sharing in the adventure of making it the best we can be! Contact us for more information!
To request a membership application and/or inquire about volunteering, please call the museum office 815 547 3115.