How an aviation museum became our favorite thing to do in Denver
The shop really started several years ago, when our family stumbled onto a little aviation museum's fly-in. We talked to the friendly guy driving the shuttle bus, and later saw him walking around in a World War 1 uniform. Eventually we figured out he was Andy Parks, the museum director. And it wasn't a re-enactment uniform he was wearing - it was the real thing!
It was fun watching the colorful WWI replica airplanes fly by, and we got to look at them up close on the ground too. Even we, who knew nothing about WWI then, knew a red tri-plane with the Iron Cross on the wings was the Red Baron airplane. But why he was called a baron? Was he real or just a story? And "Flying Circus" sounded like something barnstormers would put on, but that was after the war era?!
Slowly we learned more - that Andy Parks wasn't a hired director; he grew up with WWI and WWII pilots (and grew up playing with mannequins like the Parks scion with the mannequin head in the picture), and his family was commissioned by the last survivors of the first US pilots to carry on their remembrance. Slowly we realized that when Andy mentioned something Jimmy had once told his family, he meant Jimmy Doolittle, as in the Doolittle Raid.
The more we learned the more we thought other people should know about the Parks family and their collection. But it's hard to maintain and develop a collection, keep up on history, keep up on aviation, run a museum as a business and as living and flying history, and be the administrator, fundraiser, marketer, and merchandiser. At least, it's hard to do all that as one person.
So we are trying to help publicize the museum with this online gift shop, which is a little separate from the Vintage Aero Flying Museum so Andy Parks doesn't have to take responsibility for the accuracy of everything mentioned on this site. We will do our best to get things right, but opinions, viewpoints, and fact accuracy do not reflect on the Vintage Aero Flying Museum. We are just here to tell people what a fascinating resource is hidden near the foothills of Colorado.
We want you to realize what we know is all secondhand information. Want to really find out? Go ask the guy (Andy Parks!) who really knew these people! You can contact him through:
Vintage Aero Flying Museum
7507 County Rd 39
Ft Lupton, CO 80621
The Vintage Aero Flying Museum (vafm.org) is located in Colorado, northeast of Denver, at the Platte Valley Airpark. The museum's collection includes one of the most complete collections of named WWI memorabilia in the world. The collection developed over three generations from the fascination the Parks family had for aviation and history. The current director is Andy Parks. The collection, handled through the Lafayette Foundation, is an important view into the early days of flying and the history of the pilot profession.
Your support helps the Vintage Aero Flying Museum continue its mission of remembering the Lafayette Flying Corps. Some items in the Great War Stories Gift Shop directly support the museum; these are labeled as "VAFM". Other items are offered by friends of the museum, including:
Contact the Great War Stories Gift Shop at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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