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'A hidden gem' | History and dreams take flight at new Dallas museum, education center

The education center teaches STEM lessons while preserving WWII history.
Credit: Sean Giggy
The Henry B Tippe National Aviation Education Center, located at the Dallas Executive Airport, features a museum, working hangar and education center all in one.

DALLAS — Nowhere in DFW will get you to Hogwarts, but you can come to Dallas Executive Airport to find a place just as magical.

“This place is like Harry Potter’s three-headed dog,” said Nancy McGee, vice president of the Henry B. Tippie National Aviation Education Center.

The center’s "three heads," or experiences, are a museum, an airplane hangar and an education center.

Inside the center, which is a partnership with the Commemorative Air Force, students can learn about the past and prepare for the future.

An experiential classroom allows guests to go through a simulation of life in America during World War II, while a workshop gives them hands-on learning in STEM-related lessons.

“We have a huge need for kids to get into STEM fields,” McGee said. “This is an easy way to inspire them.”

The education center is available by reservation only.

McGee says kids don’t just learn history, they get to see it. After they’ve spent time in the education center, they can head to the hangar where they can see WWII-era airplanes.

“Airplanes make STEM look sexy,” McGee said.

The jaw-dropping planes inside the hangar change every day because they still fly to air shows throughout the country.

The museum, which is open to everyone Tuesday through Saturday, has the world’s largest collection of WWII nose art -- pictures of pinup girls that were painted on the nose of planes.

Also highlighted at the museum are the war’s unsung heroes: female pilots, Black pilots and Mexican pilots.

The entire facility opened last November and is ready to take flight.

“We are a hidden gem in Dallas and there are so many opportunities, so many different programs for people to experience here,” McGee said.

For more information on the Henry B Tippie National Aviation Education Center, or to make a reservation, visit their website.

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