Hill Aerospace Museum

Write up by: Maxwell Thompson

GPS Coordinates: 

Latitude: 41° 9′ 43.4088” N
Longitude: 112° 1′ 8.5224” W

Historical Marker Text: “1991- This Plaque commemorates the gift of the museum building complex from the citizens of the state of Utah to the United States Air Force—the 1988 and 1989 Utah State Legislatures”

Extended Research: 

The Hill Aerospace Museum is located on the northwest corner of Hill Air Force Base in Roy, Utah. The Air Force base itself was built and activated in 1940 and named after Major Ployer P. Hill, a test pilot who died while testing a plane.[1] The base is the second largest in the Air Force in terms of population as well as its geographic size, with over one million acres of land and 1,700 facilities. For Utahns, the base is the state’s largest single employer site, with over 23,000 people working there.[2] The base was used as a maintenance and supply depot during World War II and then as logistical support for large numbers of aircraft during the Korean and Vietnam wars.[3]

In the 1940s, the museum was originally located on the military base itself, although it was fairly small and only held a WWII display of some weapons and equipment.[4] The Museum grew and eventually moved to its current location in 1987 where it now houses several large planes which are no longer in commission, war equipment, and some educational centers for the children who visit. In 1988, the State of Utah appropriated $5 million for the building of the current museum complex. 

The focus of the Hill Aerospace Museum is on flight and the history of the Air Force. There is a secondary focus on Utah flight history. Throughout the museum there are small plaques with descriptions of Utah Air Force aviators who served their country in different capacities. This is capped off by the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame which is just inside the entrance to the museum. This is a special room that is dedicated to celebrating the contributions that men and women from Utah have made to the world of aviation. With Hill Air Force Base being so close to the museum, there are quite a few aviators who served at Hill who are showcased in the Hall of Fame. 

Inside of the museum are two large areas where different artifacts, mainly planes and helicopters, are displayed. Outside there are very large carrier planes for visitors to see.

 The Museum is comprised of two different sections, both are more like giant plane hangars than a regular museum. Both sections house aircraft from different eras, beginning with World War I, all the way up through some of the popular F-16s that are used in today’s Air Force. Included along with the aircraft, are a series of  uniforms that the military men and women wore while in combat, along with their everyday uniforms. The uniforms are organized chronologically,  set up to parallel the plane era progression.

It is also worth noting that there is an aircraft just outside the museum, which was one of the jets used as  “Air Force One” while  Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States. The aircraft has had some work done on it to renovate it after some normal wear and tear from a few years of flight.[5]

In sum, the Aerospace Museum at Hill is filled with planes and helicopters and offers an overview of aviation history. There are plenty of airplanes and aviation artifacts at the museum to capture the attention of visitors, old and young alike.

Former Air Force One plane on display at the Aerospace Museum

For further reference:

Secondary Sources:

“About the Museum,” Hill Aerospace Museum, https://www.aerospaceutah.org/museum/about-the-museum/

“About Us,” Hill Airforce Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/About-Us/.

Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah. Hill Aerospace Museum Official Guide Book. 2007.

Hibbard, Charles G. “Hill Air Force Base.” Utah History Encyclopedia. Ed. by Allen Kent Powell. Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1994. https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/h/HILL_AIR_FORCE_BASE.shtml


[1] Charles G. Hibbard, “Hill Air Force Base,” Utah History Encyclopedia, ed. by Allen Kent Powell (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, 1994). https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/h/HILL_AIR_FORCE_BASE.shtml

[2] Hibbard, “Hill Air Force Base;” “About Us,” Hill Air Force Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/About-Us/, accessed 9 April 2020.

[3] Hibbard, “Hill Air Force Base.”

[4] “About Us,” Hill Air Force Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/About-Us/, accessed 9 April 2020; “Hill Aerospace Museum,” Hill Air Force Base, https://www.hill.af.mil/Home/Hill-Aerospace-Museum/, accessed 9 April 2020.

[5] Hill Aerospace Museum Plaque.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *