McChord Air Museum welcomes a piece of history

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylee Tyus
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In 1982, Keith Ferris, a Hawaiian aviation artist, completed a painting titled "McChord Country" and donated the artwork to McChord Air Force Base, where it adorned the walls of the McChord Club for the next four decades.

Over the years, exposure to the elements in the surrounding environment took a toll on the painting, prompting the 62d Airlift Wing's historian to initiate the restoration of this significant piece.

Erin Lasley, the 62d AW historian, highlighted the dual significance of the artwork, noting that it is not only an immersive piece of art but also tells a compelling story about McChord and the aircraft that once graced its skies. Despite temporary setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Lasley, with assistance from the McChord Air Museum, finally set the restoration process in motion.

In November 2023, the painting journeyed to Everett, Washington, where Daniel Zimmerman, a Seattle-based restoration artist, took on the challenge of restoring the painting to its original state. This piece is one of over 9,000 in the U.S. Air Force art collection worldwide.

After years of anticipation, Lasley and Shon Zawada, the McChord Air Museum curator, along with a team of six McChord Airmen, hung the recently refurbished artwork in its new home at the McChord Air Museum. The 12-foot-long, 6-foot-high painting details various notable aircraft flying over McChord Air Force Base with Mount Rainier in the background.

"We are very fortunate to curate one of the largest pieces in the Air Force Art Program’s collection," said Lasley.

The Air Force Art Program, established in 1950, invites artists to tell the Air Force's story through their art and sets up exhibits to share these stories with Airmen and the public. Ferris' piece can be viewed at the Museum Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.