The Museum of Flight and Japan’s Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum signed a Partnership Agreement during a live virtual ceremony on Sept 14. Museum leaders and local elected officials were at each museum during the event. The Partnership Agreement is meant to foster mutual educational, cultural, and institutional goals, and to develop joint collaborations in exhibits and promotions all in the spirit of friendship.
Joining Museum President/CEO Matt Hayes and Museum Senior Curator Matthew Burchett at the ceremony were Washington state Senator Bob Hasegawa, and Inagaki Hisao, Consul General of Japan in Seattle. On location at the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum, was the Museum’s Director, Takafumi Matsui; Gifu Prefecture Governor Hajime Furuta; Kenji Asano, Kakamigahara City Mayor, and Will Shaffer, The Boeing Japan President.
“I am grateful that we are in an industry that gets better not through competition but through cooperation,” said Hayes. “Partnerships with great museums like the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum enable us all to work together in bettering our institutions, communities, and how we preserve and present history. And I am grateful to have met many kinds and talented people from Japan while going through this process.”
Sen. Bob Hasegawa said at the ceremony, “I’m very pleased that we’re able to work together with the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum to share and deepen our understandings of each other’s programs, histories, and develop even closer relationships between the Japanese people and Washingtonians. I know there is much we can learn from each other and as we do, I know our relationships will grow even stronger.”
“The launch of the partnership of these two museums,” said Consul Hiragaki, ”will create new opportunities to share and exchange knowledge and artifacts, which will facilitate new programs to expand on their wonderful legacies.”
The partnership has been developing for over two years when a team from the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum first visited The Museum of Flight and proposed the idea. The formal signing of an agreement was originally planned for 2020, with hopes for an in-person ceremony at one of the museums, but with pandemic restrictions in Japan and the U.S., a virtual ceremony was deemed the only near-term option.
In 2017 The Museum of Flight signed a similar agreement with the Aichi Museum of Flight in Nagoya. The Museum’s Education Outreach team has conducted numerous public programs in Japan, including programs at the Gifu museum.
The Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum is the largest aerospace museum in Japan and has partnerships with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Air and Space Museum in Paris, and three aerospace museums in Russia.
Remarks from the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum at the Ceremony
Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum Director, Takafumi Matsui
“The Museum of Flight is the world’s largest private aerospace museum. The Museum also offers excellent educational programs. There is so much we can learn and emulate. On the other hand, Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum is located in Kakamigahara City, Gifu Prefecture, which has been an important base of Japan’s aviation industry for 100 years. The Museum had a massive renewal and reopening on March 24, 2018, as one of the only museums in Japan to combine full-scale aviation and aerospace exhibits. The museum boasts the largest number of actual aircraft on display in Japan—43. Many of them can only be seen here in Japan. The Museum inspires children with challenging spirit and excitement, as they will become the leaders of the next generation. Today’s agreement will definitely make it possible for us to initiate whatever we can to further enhance and disseminate attractive features from both Museums.”
Gifu Prefecture Governor, Hajime Furuta
“This partnership agreement with The Museum of Flight is very meaningful at the time of COVID impact worldwide. The state of Washington, where The Museum of Flight is located, is a region that has grown along with the development of the Boeing Company. It is the center of many world-class aerospace companies. In a similar way, the city of Kakamigahara in Gifu Prefecture, where this Museum is located, has developed as an important base for the aerospace industry in Japan. So, there is a strong feel for a long-standing connection between us. Despite the COVID, we hope to roll out the exchange immediately.”
Mayor of Kakamigahara, Kenji Asano
“In order to stay vibrant as a region, it is essential to develop a pool of talents to nurture their potential. We have been keen to learn from such an approach and incorporate it into ours. So, we have had a partnership agreement with Everett Community College since 2015. As many as 30 students are dispatched there every year, and so far, 120 students have joined the exchange program. So, we hope to see some synergy once this partnership takes place. I am convinced that this agreement is not just a partnership of two museums, but will link to revitalizing regional industry and community as a whole. I look forward to the day we can freely travel and visit each other.”