New Home for the Kelch Aviation Museum

Hello, and thanks for visiting the Alfred & Lois Kelch Aviation Museum website. In this space, we’ll post news and updates about the museum collection, events and most importantly for now, our new museum building.

Al Kelch’s collection of antique airplanes, cars and artifacts goes back several decades and includes many rare and one-of-a-kind examples. Many were purchased as wrecks or as a basket of parts but all have been fully restored to airworthy condition and were flown around the Midwest and Florida to the delight of antique airplane enthusiasts. For many years, the aircraft have been on display in the Kelch hangars at the Brodhead Airport in Brodhead, Wisconsin, but usually only during fly-in events or other odd times when Al happened to be around.

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After Al Kelch passed away in 2004, volunteers with the Alfred & Lois Kelch Charitible Trust continued to keep the hangars open upon request, but for all practical purposes, the airplanes and cars collected dust, unseen and unused. In 2011, The Alfred & Lois Kelch Aviation Museum, Inc. was chartered with the intention of creating a more formal museum operation in order to further their mission:

To establish and operate a museum that celebrates the golden age of aviation and cultivates an appreciation of its powerful impact on science, engineering and design, and humanity’s understanding of its own limitless potential.

With this in mind, 501(c))(3) non-profit status was obtained and in 2014, a full time curator was hired to oversee the creation and operation of a full time museum.

The Kelch Aviation Museum is now looking to obtain a 2.5 acre parcel of land adjacent to the Brodhead Airport to construct a new building large enough to hold all ten Kelch aircraft, ten automobiles, office space, library and public space, all with room to grow. This land is in the northeast corner of the airport and is home to one of the original buildings from the 1973 purchase of the modern Brodhead Airport. Built for Blackhawk Helicopters, an operator of Bell 47 helicopters for agricultural spraying and sightseeing tours, it was later home to Jerry Edgar, one of the airport’s founders, and is now owned by Lee Stenson.

We hope to complete the purchase of this land by May 1, 2015 and start planning the new building as soon as possible. There is also a possibility of constructing a joint building with EAA Chapter 431, the host of several fly-ins each year at Brodhead Airport. With the history and energy of both organizations, we hope to create a beautiful destination for pilots and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. Stay tuned!

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