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A real ‘EdVenture’ in aerospace awaits children in South Carolina

New, interactive 757 exhibit at children’s museum made possible by Boeing

Thanks to the efforts of several employees from across the Boeing enterprise, the EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, S.C., will soon going wheels-up with a cool, interactive aerospace exhibit:

A retired 757.

Those efforts began when Jon Maddux, a Business Operations manager at Boeing South Carolina, was asked by leadership, to help the museum with some ideas for their new aerospace exhibit. The museum had secured a multi-million dollar grant from NASA to bring it to life.

Maddux advised them to go big.

“I said to the museum, ‘What you need is an airplane! I don’t know how to get you one, but that’s what you need,’ ” Maddux recalled of his first meeting with museum officials. “They loved the idea, so we got to work figuring out how to make it happen.”

When Maddux contacted Michael Murray, an Asset Management business manager with Boeing Capital Corporation, he got good news.

“I really didn’t know what to expect when I reached out to them but they said, ‘We can help you locate an airplane, no problem. All we need to do is figure out the shipping costs and transportation logistics,’ ” Maddux recalled.

Boeing Capital Corporation oversees Boeing’s business in the used airplane market, finding homes for commercial airplanes taken in as trade-ins.

“Along with taking in and redeploying used airplanes to revenue service, Boeing Capital Corporation also manages permanent removal from service,” Murray explained.

“Some of those retired airplanes are parted out, while others can be made available for donation to museums and educational centers,” he said. “It’s always beneficial for a company like Boeing to participate in these types of activities, as it helps inspire the next generation to learn more about the aviation industry.”

A retired 757 was an ideal donation candidate for EdVenture, which happily covered the cost of shipping. A truck transported the airplane to the museum where it was prepped for installation.

With volunteers helping to refurbish the airplane, the museum prepared a special place for the flight deck. It is installed so that children sitting in the pilot or co-pilot seat have a panoramic view of the South Carolina state capital’s skyline. Other components of the airplane, including a fuselage section, will also be on display.

“I still can’t believe we were able to do it,” said Maddux. “But I’m really happy with how it all came together. This is going to be a great experience for the children who visit the museum. Hopefully it will inspire some to pursue careers in aerospace.”

The nose section of the donated 757 is lifted into position at the EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, S.C.

Children visiting the EdVenture aerospace exhibit will have an expansive view of the Columbia, S.C., skyline from the flight deck of the 757 donated by Boeing.