With a mission to preserve Oklahoma’s aerospace history and to inspire science-based learning through discovery, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (TASM) has carved out a unique niche in the Oklahoma museum community. TASM has been exposing students to real-world applications of STEM for over 15 years.
In 2017, more than 26,000 students participated in STEM engagement, consisting of museum tours, hands-on activities, interactive exhibits, inspirational messages and planetarium educational programming.
Education is provided in a stimulating environment that includes inspirational stories of aerospace pioneers and events, unique and priceless aircraft, computer flight simulators, cockpit trainers, demonstrations, and simulated space voyage experiences.
Learn more about the museum, our history, and our future…
From the very beginning, the focus of the museum has always been education.
“Preserving Oklahoma’s aerospace heritage to inspire science-based learning through discovery.”
The museum’s mission is carried out in a stimulating setting that includes inspirational stories of aerospace pioneers and events, priceless aircraft, computer flight simulators, aerospace based curriculum, a teacher resource center and a library and media center.
Hands-on activities have been proven to enhance learning: as a result, group tours are interspersed with activities and aircraft that students can actually touch. Open cockpits, a robotic arm, a space shuttle launch, a space maneuvering unit and a simulated wind tunnel are all included to help students comprehend the principles of flight as well as the technology utilized by astronauts, pilots, and scientists.
Every year TASM provides hundreds of group tours and hands-on activities for school field trips. Approximately 60% of visitors to the museum are college-aged and younger. Over 40% of admissions are school field trips. As a consequence, TASM has developed a reputation throughout northeastern Oklahoma as a premier destination for young families.
Our story began in 1998 in a 1940’s hangar on the Spartan School of Aeronautics’ campus. In 2005, TASM moved into the Sherman and Ellie Smith Hanger One (its current location) on a 17.8 acre campus on the north side of the Tulsa International Airport. With the help of Tulsa County’s Vision 2025 proposition, the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium opened in 2006, providing many Oklahomans their first experience in a planetarium.
Since it’s inception, TASM has grown into viable and well-managed operation that attracts increasing numbers of students and visitors, establishing its position not only as a center for educational enrichment, but as a tourism and convention resource for Tulsa. Since the public opening in May 1998, the museum has welcomed over 600,000 visitors through its doors.
Many people are surprised to learn that Oklahoma has a booming aerospace industry and is home to the world’s largest military aircraft repair facility (Tinker Air Force Base) and the world’s largest commercial airline maintenance base (American Airlines Maintenance Base).
“Oklahoma is one of the world’s premier destinations for the aerospace and defense industries,” Gov. Mary Fallin said in a statement. “It is centrally located with developed infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, competitive incentives and low cost of doing business.”
Our mission to inspire science-based learning through discovery touches tens of thousands of students each year through school field trips, day camps, after-school programs, outreach programs and week-long summer camps. These children will become Oklahoma’s workforce of tomorrow, and they deserve the very best education that we can provide. TASM is doing its part in a fun, engaging and exciting way!
The museum acts as a window for discovering regional opportunities for careers in aerospace and the advanced education system that is available to pursue those careers. The business community also benefits from this growing employment pool, while young people learn about job opportunities in one of the largest industry sector in the state.
James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium
In addition to the Sherman and Ellie Smith Hanger One Museum, TASM built a 110-seat Planetarium and ESky™ Theater. In operation for over a decade, the James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium recently underwent a major technology upgrade. Nearly $400,000 was invested in a new state-of-the-art HD SciDome projection projection system to provide an out-of-this-world audio-visual experience.
The James E. Bertelsmeyer Planetarium showcase a rotating schedule of programs, and introduces a new show approximately every six months. The Museum curator and his staff have continued to develop new exhibits, working on fulfilling the exhibit program specifically designed for Hangar One and the Planetarium. In 2006, TASM was certified by the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the Naval Aviation Museum to receive artifacts and traveling exhibits on loan.
Organization & Funding
Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Inc. (TASM) was incorporated as an Oklahoma non-profit corporation in 1994 and received 501(c)(3) status in August 1995.
TASM works diligently to maintain a consistent stream of funding. Financial support comes primarily from fees-for-service, including but not limited to admissions, museum store sales, facility rentals, group tours, and summer aerospace camps.
The museum receives additional funding through membership dues, corporate sponsorship, individual contributions, and special events such as our annual Aviator Ball. The Tulsa Air and Space Museum receives no public funding for general operations and relies on donors for vital support.
TASM’s dedicated volunteer corps provides guided tours, assistance with hands-on activities, admissions, museum store staffing and a wealth of knowledge that comes from their life experiences and careers in aerospace, the military and other related disciplines, In 2017, 10,912 volunteer hours valued at $189,875 were donated by TASM Volunteers.
We’d like to thank these wonderful photographers for providing images used on our website:
- Norm Van Sickle – www.vancophotography.com
- Jason Carrison
- Ashley Thompson – https://www.facebook.com/ashleythompsonphotography/