Brooklyn, NY - Orthodox Jew Creates Exhibit On Presidential Travel With Full Scale Replica Of Air Force One
Brooklyn, NY - An interactive exhibit featuring a recreation of Air Force One that will be traveling throughout the United States is the brainchild of an Orthodox entrepreneur from Brooklyn who hopes to offer an educational glimpse of presidential travel throughout the years.
Air Force One: The National Exhibition is the brainchild of Ari Scharf. Scharf said that the idea for the project highlighting history, science and democracy came to him several years ago during a conference on international law and diplomacy featuring former President Bill Clinton.
“There was a small group of us in the room and Clinton mentioned Air Force One,” Scharf told VIN News. “Guys were asking him what it was like and said they dreamed about seeing it and what the experience would be like.”
The excitement regarding the presidential plane stayed with Scharf even after the conference had concluded.
“I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great to do something, not just something about Air Force One, but about the presidents on Air Force One,” recalled Scharf. “What it was like when they traveled. How no matter where they traveled, how nervous they would be about representing the United States. I saw it as a whole story line.”
Imagining a scenario similar to the recreations that are found in Disney World, Scharf began thinking of a way to bring the concepts of Air Force One and presidential travel to life, teaming up with a former Disney imagineer who had developed successful recreations. While Scharf had originally envisioned using a warehouse as the setting for his exhibit, a newspaper article on the aviation industry took him in a completely different direction.
“I was reading about the lives of airplanes and how a few airlines were doing mergers and selling off some of their 747s,” said Scharf. “I picked up the phone and began making calls. Why should we do this in a warehouse when we could do it as a full replica in an actual airplane?”
Among the many entities contacted in the evolution of Scharf’s project were both the White House and the Pentagon.
“We needed to make sure we could use the actual presidential seal and we have letters stating that we have their permission,” said Scharf.
Scharf also joined forces with former US Air Force officers who served Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton on the iconic aircraft.
“They came on board to help develop the project,” said Scharf. “We worked with major television networks who had film of Air Force One and the whole thing evolved to become not just about Air Force One today but an entire exhibit on presidential travel.”
Air Force One: The National Exhibition is slated to open this summer in the northeast and the modular recreation will be capable of being broken down, moved by barge to various locations around the country and then reassembled in order to reach an even greater audience. The recreation, which will occupy upwards of 100,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate millions of visitors annually, will begin with the presidency of George Washington and continue through today.
Scharf said that he has been developing this concept over several years. The project, which will incorporate media, technology, historic artifacts, interactive displays and photo opportunities, will feature personal items and letters from several presidents including Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. The exhibition will also feature an exhibit on the Secret Service and interviews from former members of the elite squad about their experiences protecting the president and the first family.
While the Air Force One replica may be the main attraction of the exhibit, the graceful 747 represents more than just a vehicle to travel from one place to another. The exhibition is part of a larger initiative to teach the younger generation about the values that define our nation as well as the right to vote.
“The story here is about America and democracy,” explained Scharf. “Air Force One isn’t just an airplane. It is a symbol of democracy all around the world and what better way to teach kids today with the world’s most recognized airplane.”
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