Rhode Island has yet another quirky claim to fame: the first-ever fully functioning Air Force One replica exhibit, which has opened at Quonset Airport in North Kingstown after two years of anticipation. What was once a cargo-carrying Evergreen 747 has been stripped down and given the ultimate makeover to become the Air Force One Experience, built entirely to the specifications of the official White House in the Sky. The entire remodel took place at Quonset, chosen for its long runway and close proximity to the bay, both vital conveniences for the soon-to-be-traveling traveling exhibit.
The project was created by The Children’s Democracy Project, which aims to teach children the importance and value of democracy in new and exciting ways. A highlight of the experience for the exhibit’s organizers has been seeing how excited kids become about democracy and government after seeing it.
The remodeled plane features official and fully functional replicas of the conference room, the medical annex, a separate private presidential office, the famously photographed hallway between the press corps and meeting rooms and the presidential quarters for the first family and POTUS to catch some Zs at 40,000 feet. Phase two will involve recreating the second half of the plane beyond the famous hallway, where the current exhibit ends. Unfortunately we have to share the exhibit, which will soon be heading off on a national adventure to inform visitors beyond the Ocean State.