"NAVAL AVIATION IN SPACE" FRAMING AND WALL-MOUNTING CAMPAIGN
By local artist George F. McWilliams
CONSERVING FOR THE FUTURE
Please join us in completing the rebirth and renewal of an important local artistic treasure, to grace the walls of one of our most cherished community assets – The Pax River Naval Air Museum. Local artist George F. McWilliams’ mural, “Naval Aviation in Space”, illustrates the role of Pax River, naval aviators and crew, and civilian support personnel played in our nation’s space program. This recently restored painting has undergone over a year of world-class conservatory work, funded by $95,000 in contributions from local individuals, museum funds, and a state grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. Its framing and wall mounting will complete years of planning and fundraising.
Through the PRNAM Foundation, we are seeking community donors -- whether individual or institutional – to bring this important project to fruition. The enormity of the artwork, and the need to preserve and protect it, requires an investment $60,000 for framing and hanging. Our goal is to complete the funding in 2021, culminating in an event celebrating our community achievement.
As you consider your level of support for this effort, please think about the vital role these places play in our lives. They are central to our community, and the Museum is a treasure well worth our investment.
NAVAL AVIATION IN SPACE
Patuxent River Naval Air Station has been tied to human spaceflight since the day the Mercury astronauts were announced, with four of the seven as graduates of the United States Naval Test Pilot School. Many Naval Aviators have followed in their footsteps. From Alan Shepard’s flight as the first American in space – to the Gemini missions including Gene Cernan’s spacewalk that developed the technology for Apollo astronauts John Young and Ken Mattingly, among others, to walk on the moon, to the launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia piloted by Bob Crippen. Significant events like these are represented in artist George F. McWilliams’ mural “Naval Aviation in Space”. Unveiled at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Officer’s Club on April 26, 1986, the twelve by twenty-foot painting is dedicated to astronaut Michael Smith.
Olin Conservation, Inc. was commissioned to undertake the painstaking process of mural restoration and the year-long effort is now complete. Olin Conservation is renowned for other significant projects that grace the walls of the US Capitol, Library of Congress, The White House, and many of our nation's most prestigious institutions and edifices.
All of our recent social limitations have had a significant negative impact on the financial well-being of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station Museum. However, we have been thrifty and efficient and are set to host an epic upcoming year marked by revitalization. Our success hinges on your recognition of the value of the Museum and its treasures. The “Naval Aviation in Space” mural, by a local artist about local people, is a perfect illustration of this community’s impact on our nation’s exploration of space and its preservation under our stewardship is our responsibility. Please show your support by donating today!
COVID IMPACT ON 2020 MUSEUM FUNDING
The museum’s funding sources saw universally precipitous declines in 2020, with two exceptions. Admission revenue, the largest source of Museum funds fell by 69%, gift revenue declined by 45%, and facility rental revenue declined by 83%. The bright spots, but small percentages of overall revenue, were corporate and individual donations. Individuals gave $30,872.00 a 55% increase. Corporate donors gave $6,500.00 an 85% increase over 2019.