The Mighty Eighth Air Force, one of the United States’ finest fighting forces in World War II, got its start in Savannah. Founded in 1942, the group, which started as seven intrepid men without an aircraft to their name ended up growing to become the largest air armada of all-time, according to Pearl Fyderek, director of communications and marketing at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.
With the current ongoing debate over the nature of essential businesses, many museums have been forced to close their doors. Technology has allowed them to continue providing content to suffice the public’s ongoing need for education and entertainment.
“We’ve been working a lot to figure out how we can continue to engage,” said Fyderek.
“A lot of it goes back to asking how we can keep our content relevant to today. The internet has provided us this great opportunity and way for us to reach people, now we can share our info with people all around the world through our website, so we’re just doing what we can. Ultimately, we are a mission driven museum and our mission is to preserve and share these stories and this is just another tool we can do that with, albeit unexpectedly.”
The museum, originally opened in 1996 was started by Gen. Lewis Lyle, the commander of the Eighth throughout World War II and a number of the veterans themselves.
“We’re not just a military museum or an airplane museum,” said Fyderek. “We tell stories, we are a story museum, and our mission is about saving and sharing these stories of the heroes of the Eighth Air Force and World War II. We also have a few exhibits dedicated to groups who weren’t in the Eighth Air Force including the Tuskegee Airmen and Women Air Force Service Pilots,” plus an exhibit on the Girl Scouts and what people were doing at home.
The website, mightyeighth.org, includes videos displayed throughout the museum, as well as a new series of educational videos titled “Target for Today.”
“We’ve had a lot of success livestreaming author talks,” Fyderek added. “We also have a Vimeo page which has all of our videos as well as the Digital Briefings page on our website which is kind of a one stop shop to find everything easily because we wanted to have a live presence where we could have a conversation with people.
“One of the things I’m so proud of with our Education Department is that there’s so much thought going into who they’re teaching these tours to, each tour is tailored to the age groups and what’s going on in the world right then. I just think it’s wonderful to see children learn and enjoy it.”
“We’re excited just to have people come back in, having visitors and being able to interact with them is such a big part of a museum, one thing that we’re working to do, is maintain that conversation,” she added.
“Savannah is such an amazing community as it is with all the humanities and pulling together as a community, so, we’re just really thankful for all the support we’ve been receiving.”
Target for Today: Earth Day plus One from Mighty 8th Museum on Vimeo.