TULSA, Okla. – From Jan. 22 through Feb. 3, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium will present a special exhibit featuring Oklahoma-born, NASA Astronaut William ‘Bill’ Pogue. The special exhibit will coincide with what would have been Pogue’s 88th birthday. Items from his distinguished, record-setting career will be on display.
Pogue was born in Okemah on Jan. 23, 1930. He grew up attending small rural schools, but graduated from Sand Springs High School in 1947. He earned degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma State University. In 1990 he was inducted into the Sand Springs Education Foundation's inaugural Hall of Fame class.
Pogue served in the Air Force becoming a combat fighter pilot in Korea and an aerobatic pilot with the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. In 1966, he was selected by NASA for the space program but he finally got his chance at space when he blasted off on November 16, 1973 as the pilot for Skylab 4.
“This exhibit is an opportunity for Oklahomans to celebrate a fellow Oklahoman who achieved great things that were literally out of this world,” said Tonya Blansett, executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium.
Among several of his notable awards and titles, Pogue was also an honorary board member of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. He donated several items to the Museum including 3 NASA flight suits, signed prints from his collection of space photographs, honorary medallions and various letters and telegrams from notable people like President Richard Nixon and Oklahoma Governor Henry Bellmon.
“There are several artifacts in our archives we would like to have on permanent display,” said Blansett, “having a special exhibit like this, is one way we can share these stories. When we complete our expansion, we hope to find a permanent exhibit space for Pogue’s collection and other Oklahomans who have impacted the aviation industry and space exploration.”
Museum admission ranges from $15 for adults to $10 for students and free for children 4 and under. Admission includes access to the exhibit hall, the special exhibit, the MD-80 discovery center and one planetarium show. The museum also offers memberships as an affordable alternative for families, with several options and benefits including admission for a year and discount at the gift shop.
Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium is the region’s hub of science based learning through discovery. Each year, more than 50,000 visitors pass through the museum to explore Tulsa’s rich aviation heritage and explore the correlation of science and technology with flight.