Airstream, Inc., maker of the iconic “silver bullet” fleet of Airstream travel trailers and best-in-class touring coaches, announced today the grand opening of its Airstream Heritage Center, located inside the company’s headquarters in Jackson Center, Ohio. The Heritage Center brings Airstream’s rich history to life in a museum space that highlights over 90 years of globetrotting adventures and cutting-edge innovation while celebrating the thousands of associates who have helped build Airstreams by hand since 1931.
Visitors to the Heritage Center will be treated to an immersive brand experience throughout a 16,000 sq ft exhibit space dedicated to the extraordinary individuals and iconic Airstream products that helped shaped the company’s past and continue to inspire its future.
“For years we’ve been looking for the right way to celebrate our history, and our new Heritage Center is a testament to the products that inspired generations of travelers, and the people who built this brand into an American icon,” said Bob Wheeler, Airstream President & CEO. “The vintage models, mementos, journals, and films on display vividly illustrate how an Airstream is more than simply a recreational vehicle – it’s a vessel that holds the stories accumulated over years of travel and adventure.”
Displays featuring the story of Airstream’s founding in 1931 to those highlighting the epic Caravans that crisscrossed the globe and the company’s partnership with America’s space program, the Heritage Center spotlights 90 years of Airstream design and travel adventure while paying homage to the community of Airstreamers who embrace the freedom of the road.
Among the many artifacts on display, the Heritage Center’s Wally Byam Collection charts the Airstream founder’s life from his early days to his legacy that continues to drive product development and quality craftsmanship today. Byam’s collection includes rare childhood portraits and notebooks where he sketched ideas for his initial Airstream concepts and designs.
Other notable collections in the museum include:
Over 15 Vintage Airstreams: Assorted one-of-a-kind Airstream models, including a 1938 Clipper (an example of the first riveted aluminum Airstream model), the Gold Airstream Wally Byam used to lead the Capetown to Cairo Caravan, and a painted Argosy travel trailer.
Caravan Treasures: Airstream’s collection of original films and photographs of caravanners traveling around the world tell the story that began with the first Airstream Caravan in 1951 and continues today. The collection includes country flags flown during the Around the World Caravan, travel diaries from the Africa Caravan, and more.
Company History: Selections from the Airstream Archives on display document nine decades and counting of company history, including product testing films, brochures, engineering drawings, newspaper articles, plans for NASA’s Mobile Quarantine Facilities, and more.
One of Airstream’s most cherished collections in the Heritage Center is on display thanks to the generous donation of Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn on behalf of his mother’s estate. Helen Byam Schwamborn, the cousin of Airstream’s founder and leader of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International, kept meticulous records on Airstream history and saved a litany of valuable family archives, which can now be enjoyed by visitors. Airstream is proud to share her collection with the public in Helen’s honor.
For more information about the Heritage Center visit https://www.airstream.com/heritage-center.