Let time fly this Saturday while you explore the soft opening of The James Rogers McConnell Air Museum. Roland Gilliam, owner of the Gilliam-McConnell Airfield (home to the Pik N Pig), began collecting for this museum several years back. His interest in aircraft began near Oceana Naval Station, where he grew up during World War II. “He knows everything about aviation,” says Debby Campbell, the museum’s curator.
The museum has old military pilot gear, airplanes, parts and more. You’ll also learn about James Rogers McConnell, a world-famous World War I pilot whose mural is depicted in downtown Carthage and for whom the museum and airfield is named for. If you’re lucky, you can get Roland to drop some additional knowledge — like how there was a B-17 bomber named Miss Moore County NC in World War II because the people of Moore County spent more than $400k on war bonds.
“History is important. If you don’t try to keep it going, you’ll lose it,” says Roland.
There will be no admission fee, but donations are appreciated. It is still a work in progress, but it’s open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also help fund the museum with a few games of Bingo, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday nights. It’s located at 832 Dowd Road, about a 1/4 of a mile from Pik N Pig.