Hill Aerospace Museum opens new ICBM exhibit

  • Published
  • By Donovan Potter
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The intercontinental ballistic missile has been part of Hill Air Force Base, the state of Utah and its private sector for more than 65 years and it now stands tall as Hill Aerospace Museum’s newest exhibit, called Keeping the Peace.

Phase one of the exhibit, currently open to visitors, includes various ICBM components including guidance systems and warheads, a fall-out shelter and a full-scale launch control center mock-up.

Included over the next few months are Hill AFB’s specific roles with the weapon system, audiovisual components and interactive displays.

“What we set out to do with this exhibit is educate the public on the ICBM weapon system, the activities at Hill AFB that support the weapon system and its role in our national defense, both current and historically,” said Justin Hall, Hill Aerospace Museum curator.

Going back to the predecessors of the earliest ICBMs, Hill AFB has been and continues to be part of the construction, management, maintenance, and overhaul of this platform.

Hall said this new display is unique because it deals with content that the public rarely
gets to see and learn about.

“Visitors have the opportunity to walk into a launch control center and hear authentic sounds of alerts and activities conducted by crewmen during a normal 24-hour shift,” he said. “They will be totally immersed in the ICBM culture.”

Aaron Clark, Hill Aerospace Museum director, said this is an important exhibit because he realizes people didn’t understand the ICMB’s significance.

“I quickly learned, after coming to this museum, that so many people did not know about or did not truly understand the importance of ICBMs to our nation’s defense, along with our local connects to these weapons systems,” Clark said. “It was clear that we needed to do a better job at preserving this local history and educating our communities on what’s occurred and what’s going to occur here in this state.”

This exhibit is important to the Hill Aerospace Museum and northern Utah because the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center ICBM Systems Directorate, located at Hill AFB, is responsible for inception-to-retirement, integrated weapons system management of Minuteman weapon systems.

The directorate includes the ICBM Ground Systems Division, ICBM Flight Systems Division, ICBM Future Systems Division and other supporting offices.

As with every exhibit at the museum, Hall said they wanted to be sure everything included in Keeping the Peace is presented as accurately as possible. To accomplish this, he had a lot of help.

“We had incredible support from the community of missileers, military units and related organizations to find missing content, develop storylines, and ensure accuracy in our information,” he said. “It was a massive undertaking, and our supporting foundation, the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah, provided fantastic support.”

Others contributing to this exhibit included Carlos Rice, Jim Sorenson, 309th Missile Maintenance Group, 75th Civil Engineer Group, the state of Utah, Weber County R.A.M.P., Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, Bechtel Corporation, Boeing and the Air Force Association Chapter 235.

Clark said it’s truly incredible what the men and women of the Air Force and industry partners have done with ICBMs and what they will continue to do for decades to come.

“It excites me to finally see this exhibit become a reality,” he said. “I’m so eager to reveal to hundreds of thousands of annual visitors who come to this museum from around the globe, the incredible ICBM history that exists locally and across the Air Force.”