Seattle’s Museum of Flight and Japan’s Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum signed a Partnership Agreement during a live virtual ceremony on Sept 14. The event was closed to the public but open to media.
The representatives present included the flight museum’s President/CEO Matt Hayes, Washington State Senator Bob Hasegawa, and Inagaki Hisao, Consul General of Japan in Seattle. Following formal greetings and the signing of the agreement, the representatives fielded questions.
The Partnership Agreement is meant to foster mutual educational, cultural and institutional goals and to develop joint collaborations in exhibits and promotions, all in the spirit of friendship. The partnership has been developing for over two years, when a team from the Gifu-Kakamigahara museum first visited the Museum of Flight and proposed the idea. The formal signing of an agreement was originally planned for 2020, with hopes for an in-person ceremony at one of the museums. With pandemic restrictions in Japan and the U.S., a virtual ceremony was deemed the only near-term option.
“I am grateful that we are in an industry that gets better not through competition but through cooperation,” said Museum of Flight President/CEO Matt Hayes. “Partnerships with great museums like the Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum enable us all to work together in bettering our institutions and communities, and how we preserve and present history. I am grateful to have met… many kind and talented people from Japan while going through this process.”
In 2017, the Museum of Flight signed a similar agreement with the Aichi Museum of Flight in Nagoya. The Museum’s Education Outreach team has conducted numerous public programs in Japan.
The Gifu-Kakamigahara Air and Space Museum is the largest aerospace museum in Japan, with 43 actual aircraft on display. It has partnerships with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Air and Space Museum in Paris, and three aerospace museums in Russia. Like Seattle in the United States, Kakamigahara City has been an important base of Japan’s aviation industry for a century.