After the last Pan Am airplane landed on December 4, 1991, the employee community never lost their love for the revered institution that was Pan American World Airways.
In 1992, a group of volunteers led by Ed Trippe, the son of Pan Am’s President and CEO Juan Trippe, founded the Pan Am Historical Foundation. They acquired the company’s remaining assets, including 64 years’ worth of documents, photographs, and audio/visual materials, and archived them at the University of Miami.
When the demolition of Pan Am’s iconic saucer-shaped Worldport terminal at JFK took place in 2013, many members of the Pan Am community were left reeling as this global symbol of the golden age of aviation vanished before their eyes. As long as the iconic Worldport remained standing, former Pan Am employees still felt like they had a tangible place to call home. With it gone, they longed for a new place to gather and remember.
In 2015, several former Pan Am flight attendants and members of World Wings International had the idea of expanding on the Historical Foundation’s work. They recognized that with the community of former employees aging, the first-hand accounts and oral history of Pan Am were in danger of being lost forever. They joined forces to establish a permanent museum dedicated to Pan Am.
Spearheaded by a group of dedicated Pan Am employees who worked tirelessly to create and finance the exhibit, in just a year, the founders of this unprecedented project raised funds to construct the first phase of this singular new project.
After securing a $5,000 seed loan from World Wings International and obtaining 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status, the group’s newly seated board of directors searched for a museum location. The board settled on Long Island’s Cradle of Aviation Museum, known for preserving Long Island aviation history. It is located on the former Mitchel Field Air Force Base site.
“We are thrilled by the response we received from Pan Am employees and friends who want to honor our company and its many contributions, not just to aviation, but to global travel and commerce,” said Linda Freire, Co-Chair of the Board of the Pan Am Museum Foundation. Ms. Freire is a former flight attendant and manager.
The sole mission of the Pan Am Museum Foundation is to maintain the legacy, history, and adventure of Pan American World Airways and its important achievements in aviation history. The Foundation also serves to archive, preserve, protect, and exhibit all categories of Pan Am memorabilia and artifacts to honor the people and culture created within the company and the world. The Pan Am Museum’s exhibits and collected artifacts are displayed on the third-floor wing inside the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
The Pan Am Museum Foundation, Inc.
Charles Lindbergh Blvd
Garden City, NY 11530