Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Gift Shop Destroyed By Fire

The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome remains open despite a devastating fire on Thursday, August 20, 2015

Flames engulfed the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome gift shop and model museum on Thursday afternoon, completely destroying the structure and all merchandise inside. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire has yet to be released. The organization, which is widely considered America’s first “living” antique aircraft museum, reported that, though “much of it is replaceable, a great deal is priceless and a huge loss.”

Losses include all of the gift shop merchandise; computers, POS terminals, and credit card readers; founder Cole Palen’s stick-and-tissue models; and fuselage fabric from the SPAD XIII World War I fighter. Thanks to the efforts of Aerodrome staff and passerby, the majority of the museum’s valuables — including its original Ford Model T and 1909 Blériot XI monoplane, which is the oldest flying aircraft in the United States and second oldest in the world — were moved to safer locations.

Despite the tragedy, the museum remains open seven days per week, with airshows running every weekend until the end of the season. The museum store remains open daily in the History of Flight building; a temporary gift shop, to be located in the airfield, is in the works so visitors can continue to purchase merchandise.

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A 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome hopes to move forward with its construction campaign — which will include a new retail space, bathroom facility, and now, a new gift shop — as soon as its airshow season is complete.

Call 845-752-3200 or visit www.oldrhinebeck.org/ORA/donate to help donate to the organization and aid in its reconstruction efforts.

Related: Summer Fun at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

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