Museum needs public help restoring iconic bomber

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s known as the aircraft that won World War II and the first to drop a nuclear weapon. New Mexico is home to one of those rare bombers, but the one in Albuquerque is showing its age and now a local museum is asking for the public’s help to restore it.

“This is one of the most iconic aircrafts that the United States has ever produced,” said Museum of Nuclear Science and History Restoration Coordinator Jerry Hanks.

The rare B-29 Superfortress, stationed at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, is one of only about 17 left in the world.

The aircraft which weighs in at about 70,000 pounds is known historically as carrying out the the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Micheal Applegate is a military veteran.

“How can you replace it? You can’t. I mean it’s history. It’s undeniable,” said Applegate.

The rich history is falling apart though.

“Almost every window is cracked or broken and needs to be replaced,” said Hanks.

The aircraft also needs a new paint job and some major body work. The problem is the makeover will cost a lot of money that the museum doesn’t have.

The museum is now relying on the public and a Kickstarter campaign to fund the exterior restoration.

“We’ll be making a donation as soon as we can get home and get on the internet,” said Applegate.

As of Saturday evening, the museum has raised about $27,000. The goal is $44,000 by Friday. If the money is raised in time Hanks said the project will be put on hold.

Applegate said he hopes people will step up and preserve such a significant piece of history.

“I know about it, you know about it, OK. I want your children and grandchildren to know about it,” he said.

About 300 people have donated money to the project.

The museum is giving out different prizes to donors. If someone gives $1 they get a thank you note.

If someone gives $10,000 they win a ride on Fifi, the only working B-29 left in the world.

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