The Historic Aircraft Memorial Museum (HAMM) was chartered on January 25, 1985 as the Historic Aircraft Memorial Foundation (HAMF), a Texas non-profit and tax exempt corporation. Original goals of the Foundation included building an Aviation Hangar and Museum at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport to offer a permanent place for the display of both active and static historic aircraft and aviation memorabilia. On March 6, 2000, a simple corporate name change was requested from and approved by the Secretary of State of Texas to more fully describe the expanded mission of the organization; i.e., to present the advancement of aviation during the 20th Century through the collection, preservation and display of aviation memorabilia and aircraft for the education and benefit of the public. From then on the Tyler organization became known as the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum (HAMM).
When the HAMM hangar was first proposed in 1985, it was designed to house a PBY-6A restored by the Lone Star Wing of the Confederate Air Force. Tragically the PBY flying boat crashed in Laguna Madre off Padre Island, Texas. That same year construction was put on hold following the PBY-6A accident. However, in the interim, a ground lease was obtained at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, a slab and foundation was poured and extensive excavation and grading was done on the site.
In 1995 the Foundation was reorganized and new goals were set. The scope of the museum was enlarged to include the history of aviation including all developments of the 20th Century, and a plan for phased construction emerged. The first three phases consisted of constructing a 2,000 square foot Exhibits Hall to house aviation memorabilia, a 2,000 square foot Multipurpose Hall to house a library, office, and meeting area, and a 13,000 square foot hangar. On completion, this location, at 2198 Dixie Dr., served all of the above functions until 2007.
In 2006, the museum entered into an agreement with the city of Tyler to occupy space in the old North Terminal Building, which was the former airline terminal, located at 150 Airport Dr, Tyler, TX 75704 and also houses the active control tower and a restaurant. The building was built immediately after World War II and reflects the architecture of the period. After a year of renovating the facility, the museum opened for visitors on July 5, 2007. This wonderful expansion opportunity enabled the museum to more than double the exhibit space, enlarge the museum store and library, add a multimedia theater room, and provide additional educational programs. Included in the lease agreement is a large outdoor space on the tarmac, next to the terminal building, where currently 14 planes are on static display, and enough vacant space for visiting aircraft to park.
Today, the Hangar on Dixie Dr. serves as the restoration facility for aircraft and storage for excess memorabilia. The Hangar also is home to two MiG17s with FighterJets Inc., which is owned by 2 HAMM members and performs in air shows throughout the US and Canada. Since the Hangar is a working hangar, it is no longer open to the public.