UPDATE: Quonset Air Museum granted stay, won’t be kicked out

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@abc6.com

UPDATE: The Air Museum was granted a six-month stay, meaning they won’t be thrown out of the building they’re currently housed in. After the six months, the RI Airport Corporation is going to help the museum find land in Quonset to move to.

The last aircraft to fly out of Quonset Naval Air Station back in the 1970’s sits alongside a torpedo bomber flown by the U.S. Navy in World War II. They’re just two of the 28 aircraft that are part of the Quonset Air Museum’s collection, many of which are displayed at the Air Show.

Nate O’Donnell, who volunteers at the museum, says many veterans come to the museum to check it out. “We have lots of veterans who come in and sit in the aircraft and we get first hand accounts from those who flew them.”

Fast forward to March 2015 when heavy snow caused the museum roof to partially collapse… and now, the building is condemned.

Everything inside the hangar has to be out by September 30. The only problem is that there’s no new facility to house the museum.

State Representative Doreen Costa says, “ I can’t imagine the Quonset Air Museum in Charlestown, or in Narragansett…”

 She is pushing the North Kingstown Town Council to keep the museum where it is, but the museum president says repairs would be beyond their $150,000 budget.

Next week the museum president is meeting with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation and Quonset Development Corporation to figure out what they can do.

“I can’t imagine RIAC coming in and saying ‘Okay get out, destroy the airplanes’…”

Representative Costa says she won’t let that happen.

In the meantime, the museum is closed, and there is no access for the public or the veterans who visit the base.

“We have tours of veterans that come back and the museum is the only landmark they recognize.”

The Airport Corporation told ABC6 they will be trying to identify alternative places for relocation ahead of the September 30 deadline.

© WLNE-TV 2015