The Stearman

The Indiana Military Museum this weekend will dedicate one of its newest arrivals — a World War II-era aircraft. The dedication ceremony, which will feature a few words from Adm. Gene Sizemore, the man who donated the aircraft to the museum earlier this year, will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the museum, 715 S. Sixth St.

The Indiana Military Museum this weekend will dedicate one of its newest arrivals — a World War II-era aircraft.

The historic Stearman Biplane, an aircraft manufactured by Boeing in the 1930s and 1940s, arrived onsite in March, but IMM officials were, in part, waiting for the arrival of a special guest before holding the dedication ceremony.

“Adm. Sizemore donated the aircraft, and he wanted the opportunity to make the trip here and see it on display,” said Jim Osborne, the museum’s founder and curator.

“I think they’re excited to see it and to visit their old home place,” he added of Sizemore and his family.

Adm. Gene Sizemore, a former resident born in Lawrence County, Illinois, who is now in his mid-90s, owned and flew the aircraft until just a few years ago.

“It’s a totally restored, flyable aircraft,” Osborne added.

The Stearman Biplane was an early style World War II training craft before engineers developed single wing trainers.

“But in the beginning it was biplane, two-seat trainers, and the Stearman was used by both the Army and the Navy,” Osborne explained.

The completely restored aircraft is one of four World War II era planes now housed at the museum.

While the collection at IMM is expansive, Osborne says they are always working to add, noting they have spent a good deal of 2021 working toward the acquisition of other exciting finds, including a rare World War II tank made in Indianapolis and a German V1 rocket — one of only 40 remaining in the world.

And in June, the museum welcomed a RIM-8 Talos missile from the Cold War-era, developed as a surface-to-air missile for protection.

“We’re always working on something,” Osborne said with a chuckle.

The dedication of the Stearman Biplane will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the museum, with both Osborne and Sizemore taking to the podium.

The museum, located at 715 S. Sixth St., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

And on Thursday — Veteran’s Day — IMM will honor veterans by admitting them and their spouses at no charge.

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