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Jet airplane.
Image by Sal Maccarone.

How Art Shapes Our Lives: The Evergreen Air & Space Museum

By Sal Maccarone

The shape and design of any object should relate directly to its purpose. This wisdom applies to all aspects of Industrial Art.  The phrase, “Form follows function,” was first spoken by architect Louis Sullivan, the father of the modern skyscraper, during the late 1800’s. His point was simple, and still applies: the form of an object should relate to that object’s function. And when you think about it, sometimes form and function will act as one. A perfect example – the airplane!

Jet airplane.

Image by Sal Maccarone.

The combined dreams of a father and his son culminated in the building of an air museum like no other. Delford “Del” Smith was a helicopter pilot who catapulted his business into a global giant. What began with a single helicopter in 1960 soon blossomed into a colossus with annual revenues of over one billion dollars: Evergreen Aviation International. Along the way, Del pioneered many uses for the helicopter that few thought were possible. He was the first in this country to use helicopters for spraying & seeding crops, fighting forest fires, medical transportation, heavy construction, and logging. An exceedingly inventive person!

Rocket.

Image by Sal Maccarone.

Del’s son, Captain Michael Smith, was the one with the dream of creating an air museum like no other. A living museum that would celebrate not only the phenomenon of flight, but also pay tribute to the pilots and innovators that make flying possible. Together, Del and Michael began collecting vintage airplanes and began the process of creating their world class museum. Early in this process, and quite coincidentally, the Hughes H-4 Hercules, or Spruce Goose, was in need of a new home. There were a few bidders, but in the end the contract was won by the Smiths. Once the arrangements were made, and after a 138 day journey from Long Beach, California, the disassembled H-4 arrived in McMinnville, Oregon.

 

Here is a video of that journey, and the plane’s subsequent re-assembly:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfkyhj-g22w

 

Airplane on roof of building.

Image by Sal Maccarone.

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is astounding in both breadth and scope.  Located in McMinnville, a very unlikely place, the museum is comprised of four state-of-the-art buildings on many acres of land.

The museum is beautifully designed and well thought out with lots of space to roam.  It is a place where one can view the evolution of flight with a multitude of docents who will explain whatever needs explaining. The Hughes H-4, a Martin Titan II missile, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and an amazing host of fully restored aircraft are just a few of the things to study. I have been back to the museum four different times and still have not seen everything. There is a state-of-the-art 3-D movie theater (in a separate building) which highlights everything from the aircraft carrier to space travel. There are buildings devoted to historic military and general aviation aircraft, and one building devoted to space travel. And if you need some R&R after visiting the museums, there is an indoor water park, complete with a water slide, which emanates from a Boeing 747 mounted on the roof. Wow!

Website: https://www.evergreenmuseum.org

Movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijioFRUeHfE

 

Sal Maccarone
salmaccarone.com
salmaccarone@gmail.com

About Sal Maccarone

Sal Maccarone is an American author, furniture maker, sculptor and kinetic artist. He is best known as a master craftsman, and for his internationally distributed woodworking books such as Tune Up Your Tools, and How to Make $40,000 a Year Woodworking, both published by F & W publications, Betterway Books, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also known for his woodworking technique articles published both online since 1994, and by the national magazine Popular Woodworking. He attended San Jose State University and achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History, and in 1974 a Masters degree in sculpture. Beginning in 1997, after the publication of his first national woodworking book, he began teaching woodworking technique. Touring the country with The Woodworking Shows, a Los Angeles based trade organization, he gives three day woodworking seminars in twenty-one different US cities each year. In 2009 he began a syndicated newspaper column called, "How Art Shapes Our Lives". The column is published once each week in the California central valley, Sierra foothills, and the Yosemite area. The column is designed to help build an awareness of the fine arts and the "Bigger Picture" while pointing to something local that can be observed. In 2010 he designed and built the two wood and glass display cases which reside as part of the permanent collection in the Great Lounge of the Ahwahnee Hotel. These furniture pieces were the first new additions to grace the Great Lounge since 1927. Both matching cases are made of native California walnut and are primarily used to display the historic baskets made by the Miwok people who once lived in Yosemite Valley. In 2011 the display cases were designated as "Reserve Property" of the hotel and are now part of the United States national heritage. He has been in the business of designing and building cabinets, furniture and sculpture since 1972. His woodwork and kinetic sculpture can be viewed in many public, and private collections throughout the United States, and British Columbia. As a member of the American Institute for Conservation he has also served as a conservator of furniture for the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, and has helped to preserve such National treasures as the three Craftsman style harvest tables which were built in 1926 by L & J.G. Stickley especially for the hotel.

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