A Spirited Flight

What I Takes to Move a Museum

By Gordon Page

Photos courtesy of Spirit of Flight

On my very first trip to Idaho in 2006 to monitor the restoration progress of a World War II Boeing B-17 bomber, I quickly found similarities to my home state of Colorado. After that visit, I told my wife Tracey if we ever were to move, it would be to Idaho. She said that would never happen. Then I brought her to visit Boise on Valentine’s Day in 2019. It snowed about four inches that day. We drove to new home subdivisions to see what they were like and the salesperson at the first show home told us we were “warriors” for braving the weather. He added it was unusual to get such deep snow. To us, deep snow was three to four feet several times a year. My wife looked at me and said, “Make it happen!”

But to make it happen, many things had to fall in place, starting with a location to build a museum that would house airplanes, engines, and more than 3,500 aviation artifacts. This would be the new home for the Spirit of Flight Foundation and Museum, which I had started in 1993, after a friend talked me into going to Russia to search for World War II airplanes. We got ripped off on the first trip, but somehow I got suckered into going back the following year to look for more planes. That trip resulted in the recovery of several World War II German Messerschmitt fighter planes, which became the centerpieces of the Spirit of Flight collection. The museum operated in Colorado for nearly twenty years and I was on track to build a new facility near Denver before the pandemic hit. Challenges arose from the pandemic recovery that made it impossible to build our forever home in Colorado—but out of that challenge, we found Idaho. 

I’ve always been fascinated by airplanes, running to a door or window to see what’s flying overhead. I think of it as the spirit of flight, although you might just say it’s the aviation bug in me, but at any rate it’s been going on since I was a kid. I started collecting aviation memorabilia, my hobby spiraled out of control, and eventually I started the museum to house all the artifacts I’d collected—and there are a lot of them.

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Gordon Page

About Gordon Page

Gordon Page is an author, producer, pilot, and the founder of the Spirit of Flight Foundation Air Museum in Nampa. He is an inductee into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame. Gordon lives with his family in Meridian, where he owns and operates an aircraft sales and appraisal business.

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