PRESS RELEASE – After more than 64 years in business, the world’s most iconic airline, Pan American World Airways (also known around the world as Pan Am), ceased operations on December 4, 1991. A perfect storm of terrorism, rising fuel costs, and an economic downturn resulted in the closure of the “World’s Most Experienced Airline.” However, thirty years later, the airline lives on at the Pan Am Museum in Garden City, New York (Long Island).
On December 5, 2021, from 5 pm to 7:30 pm, the Pan Am Museum Foundation will host a public event to celebrate the unrivaled legacy which they all helped to build by unveiling its newest exhibit: The Pan Am Saga – from its beginnings in 1927 to Its Slow Demise and Eventual Fall in 1991. The cost per person is $30 and tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE. The museum is located at One Davis Avenue, Garden City, NY 11530. Parking for the event is complimentary.
After the last Pan Am planes landed on December 4, 1991, the employee community never lost their love for the venerable institution that was Pan American World Airways. In 1992, a group of volunteers led by Ed Trippe, son of Pan Am’s former President and CEO Juan Trippe, founded the Pan Am Historical Foundation. They acquired the company’s remaining assets, including 64 years’ worth of documents, photographs, and audio/visual material — and archived them at the University of Miami.
In 2015, several former Pan Am flight attendants and members of World Wings International had the idea of expanding on the Historical Foundation’s work. They recognized that with the community of former employees aging, the first-hand accounts and oral history of Pan Am were in danger of being lost forever.
That’s when Andrea Sidor, Linda Freire, Joanne Swift, Ruth Lowenstein, Julie Watson, Bruce Gately, and Phillip Keene joined forces to establish a permanent museum dedicated to Pan Am. An additional catalyst fueled their mission, because many “family” members were still reeling from the 2013 demolition of Pan Am’s Worldport at JFK International Airport. As long as that building had remained standing, former employees still felt like they had a tangible place to call home. With its loss, they craved a new place to gather and remember.
After securing a $5,000 seed loan from World Wings International and obtaining 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status, the group’s newly seated board of directors started searching for a museum location. The board settled on Long Island’s Cradle of Aviation Museum, which is located on the former Mitchel Field Air Force Base site and is known for its preservation of Long Island-related aviation history.
Founded in 2015, the Pan Am Museum Foundation is the only institution with a permanent and physical location solely dedicated to Pan American World Airways. With a mission to “educate and inspire future generations by preserving the diverse and historical institutional and personal stories of Pan American World Airways,” the Museum explores the rich history and culture of the airline and its personnel. Through permanent installments, digital content, such as social media and podcasts, and through partnerships with other institutions, the Pan Am Museum Foundation brings the under-celebrated history of the airline to life through educational storytelling and programming. For more information about the museum, visit www.thepanammuseum.org
About Pan American World Airways
30 years ago, on December 4th, 1991, Pan American World Airways ceased operations. Founded in 1927, the airline flew for over 64 years; its closing marked the end of an era for commercial aviation. Pan American pioneered air travel and luxury in the skies while cementing itself as a fixture in popular culture throughout the world. As the airline of choice for the Beatles, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Hollywood stars, corporate executives, and politicians, tourists and families, Pan Am remains present in the hearts and minds of millions of people across the globe. The skies today feel absent and solemn without Pan Am’s signature caviar, fine wines, delicious food, and exceptional service. Although the airline is no longer with us, the legacy of Pan Am is still alive and well at a Long Island Museum bearing its name.