New England Air Museum’s Latest Exhibit: The Kościuszko Squadron

On May 2, 2021, the New England Air Museum held an invitation only event to unveil the plans for their future exhibit titled “The Kościuszko Squadron : Defenders of Freedom”. The museum’s newest exhibit is designed to honor the heroism of the Kościuszko Squadron and the Polish 303 Squadron of the RAF.

Ron Katz, Director of Advancement & External Affairs – New England Air Museum

The Kościuszko Squadron was originally formed in 1919 shortly after Poland regained their independence after World War One. The squadron consisted of American pilots recruited to help the Polish during the Russian-Polish War. During World War Two, Poland was invaded by Germany in the early stages of the war. In the spirit of the early Kościuszko Squadron, many of the Polish pilots that managed to escape capture fled to England. The RAF formed the 303 Squadron with these pilots. The unit served with great distinction during the Battle of Britain and is credited with the most aerial victories during the battle.

Dr. David Dauwalder, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs – Central Connecticut State University

The New England Air Museum (NEAM) has partnered with Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) to develop the exhibit. CCSU is well qualified for such a task. CCSU has an internationally acclaimed Polish Studies Program and is leading the informational development of the exhibit.

The exhibit will be permanently displayed at the New England Air Museum (NEAM) in freshly renovated space leading to the civilian hangar of the NEAM display floor. The proposed location is ideal for a large display and a high volume of foot traffic is expected.

The rendering of the proposed exhibit space

The current plans indicate a number of different multi-media exhibits to showcase a number of different artifacts and photos. Several items on early display include a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and several Polish military uniforms. Plans also include additional photos, various plastic model aircraft and other artifacts. Donations are still being accepted, which means the final display items are still being determined. No doubt that these items will produce a world class exhibit once the time to display them is upon us.

The full Kościuszko Squadron exhibit is scheduled for full public display on November 11, 2021 but may vary depending on financial ability and nature of the artifacts available.

After the event, Ron Katz sent the following in an email. “As you heard in my appeal last night, we seriously need your help to complete this exhibit. If this subject is important to you, if you believe that the heroism of the Kosciuszko Squadron has been hidden for too long, then please make your donation today. If you have already made a donation we sincerely thank you for your support. If not, you can make a donation securely online at https://ccsu.networkforgood.com/causes/17039-the-kosciuszko-squadron. All gifts are very much appreciated. For your gift of $1,000 or more you will be permanently recognized in the exhibit space, and will receive one of our special commemorative Kosciuszko Squadron coins. A list of benefits for all donation levels is attached.

If you wish to support the project but prefer not to make a donation online, you can send a check payable to the CCSU Foundation, and mail it to PO Box 612, New Britain, CT 06050-0612 and make a notation: “For the Kosciuszko Squadron.””

Other Special Guests

The United States has always had strong ties to Poland. Even today, Poland is considered one of America’s strongest allies. The large Polish population in the New England area makes logical sense for a display such as this. The proposed NEAM exhibit will be larger than a similar display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Presentation of Exhibit Design Guests

Closing Remarks

Dr. M.B. Biskupski, Endowed Chair Central Connecticut State University Polish Studies Program

This is a brief glimpse of the exciting things planned for this exhibit. Based on this small sneak peak, I am eager to see the final results in a few short months.

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