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Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, Rantoul

Categories: Military Museums, Museums
Inspirock Rating:
4.3/5 based on 40+ reviews on the web
The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, the largest aviation museum in Illinois, occupied part of the grounds of the decommissioned Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. It and the base were named for Octave Chanute, railroad engineer and aviation pioneer. The museum was dedicated to the life and works of Chanute, the former air base, the history of aviation in the state of Illinois, and hosted an annual air show.Highlights of the museum included a collection of over 40 aircraft including military fighters, bombers, rescue, recon, and cargo aircraft. Many of these were used for training purposes at Chanute, and most were on loan from the United States Air Force Museum. Other exhibits of note included a replica of the Wright 1903 Flyer, a large collection of Frasca Flight Simulators, and tributes to the veterans who have served in America's conflicts and wars.The museum offered summer day camp programs, including a week-long aviation camp for teens and a science camp for elementary-school aged children. In addition, the museum offered various educational and social events throughout the year.The facility enjoyed direct runway access to Rantoul National Aviation Center Airport - Frank Elliot Field, another successful use of the former base facilities. Fly-in visitors were welcomed. Ample vehicle and bus parking was also available to accommodate groups.The museum was scheduled to close on December 30, 2015.HistoryChanute Air Force Base operated in Rantoul from 1917-1993. After decommission, the cleanup and conversion of the 2125acre grounds began. Economic redevelopment of the former base was a paramount concern to the surrounding community. As of 2008, portions of the site are still unoccupied, due in part to environmental concerns including asbestos contamination. Nevertheless, much has been repurposed into civilian concerns. The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum was one of the earliest efforts, opening in 1994.
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  • It was a great place to visit with children, the murals and so much to see including the ability to go inside the huge airplanes. 
  • It is a shame this museum closed. I was here twice for training in the 80s. The most interesting display for me was the base time. Very informative since the base opened in 1917 and closed in 1993. Th...  read more »
  • As a regular visitor to Chanute Air Museum for many years, I refused to believe that this unique museum would close at the end of the year as announced. But alas, it is happening , and will actually b...  read more »
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