A B-17F Memphis Belle sits at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on on March 10, 2018.

A B-17F Memphis Belle sits at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on on March 10, 2018. (Facebook)

(Tribune News Service) — The 75th anniversary of the Department of the Air Force is Sunday, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, as always, is ready to tell the service’s story.

This weekend, the museum has an array of exhibits that highlight the past, present and future of the Air Force with open aircraft, a 75th Anniversary selfie station, educational activities, trivia, airplane tricycles, coloring pages, a word search station, and more.

“The whole weekend is filled with a big slate of activities, events, things to look at, things to do,” said Doug Lantry, museum historian. “It’s a big weekend.”

The museum is also unveiling a new permanent exhibit in the fourth building dedicated to the newest branch of the American armed forces, the U.S. Space Force.

The nation’s newest military service was established Dec. 20, 2019 and organizes, trains, and equips forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space.

Here, you’ll find the pen former President Donald Trump used to sign the new service into being, as well as uniforms, space-related vehicles and rockets, explanations of history, missions and more.

Starting Saturday, visitors can also explore the 5,000-square-foot “Above and Beyond” exhibition, which offers an interactive demonstration of the forces and physics involved in flight.

“Getting up off the ground, you know there are some forces we have to interact with — lift, weight, thrust, drag,” said Mike Brimmer, chief of the museum’s education division. “With every flying object, including birds and drones or satellites, rockets, airplanes, all have to contend with the same forces of flight. And this exhibit illustrates that.”

Want to design a virtual plane? Here, you can do that.

The exhibit runs through Dec. 15.

The museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Be aware if you visit Saturday that close to 8,000 runners will be on or near museum grounds for the running of four Air Force Marathon races.

The museum — which itself is readying to celebrate its centennial anniversary next spring — features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space.

For more information, go to the National Museum of the Air Force.

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