Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum announces it will be temporarily closing to the public for approximately 90 days starting October 9, 2023, for a much-needed roof replacement project on the south side of Hangar #1. The building is listed on the National and State of New Jersey Registers of Historic Places and remarkably, most of the roof components date to its original construction in 1942.
The building was part of NAS Wildwood which operated as a dive-bombing training base for the United States Navy. Interestingly, due to a shortage of materials during the war effort, the underlayment of the roof was made up of gypsum board. Many are unaware that Hangar #1 is a wooden hangar that came from a kit and was delivered by rail to Rio Grande, NJ.
This is the final stage of the two-part project. The replacement of the roof on the north side of the hangar took place from November 2022 until January of this year. A portion of the north roof was previously restored when Dr. Joseph Salvatore, the museum’s chairperson, and founder, took over the building in 1997.
The two-year full roof replacement project has been made possible in part by the Preserve New Jersey Historic Preservation Fund administered by the New Jersey Historic Trust as well as a grant from the Cape May County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland, and Historic Preservation Trust Fund. Additionally, NASW will match with museum funds. After surviving over eighty years, the restoration of the roof is much needed, and the funding is greatly appreciated.
Due to the construction, NASW will not be hosting Christmas at the Hangar in 2023. The museum WILL see the event return in 2024. Christmas at the Hangar has really gained traction with an estimated 4,500 attendees in 2021. This is a rather bittersweet announcement, as the event has become a festive community tradition.
Museum offices and online store will remain OPEN during renovations. Please check our website and social media pages for reopening updates. Purchases assist with operating costs during a time when the museum is regularly busy. Thank you for your understanding.
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located inside historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport. The site was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 aviators who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945. For more information about NASW, or to visit the museum’s online store, visit www.usnasw.org or call (609) 886-8787.