Greetings from the flight deck of the Midway, where we closed out a very successful summer highlighted by attendance being up over 25 percent from last year. America is traveling once again and our national attendance is back near pre-covid levels. As soon as international tourism picks back up, I believe we’ll exceed our previous attendance numbers. We’re looking really good as we head towards our 20th year celebration in 2024.
We plan on giving Midway a fresh coat of paint to get her ready for her 20-year milestone as a museum, and we should be breaking ground for the conversion of the parking lot on Navy Pier into a park honoring our veterans. We’ll continue to maintain adequate parking on the pier and nearby to sustain our projected growth in visitation. All in all, a good-news story moving forward.
We celebrated our Midway American Patriot Gala on the flight deck on Sept. 1, and were honored to welcome Lt. Dan – Mr. Gary Sinise – as our recipient this year. His total dedication to the ongoing needs of our veterans was truly an inspiration to all of those in attendance, and the incredible work the Gary Sinise Foundation is doing was highlighted throughout the evening. I believe there is a long and sincere partnership between our two foundations in the coming decades. I’m sure that the Midway and Gary’s foundation will continue to deliver the much needed support our veterans deserve in the coming years.
During the gala, we also bid farewell to our education director, Sara Hanscom, and highlighted her 18 years of innovative leadership for our programs. Sara is the only education boss we have had on Midway, and she built our very successful and nationally-acclaimed programs from a vision into reality. We are so proud of our education program and all it has done from the beginning to educate kids about STEM subjects, but as importantly, about the greatness of America and the service and sacrifice required to keep our country strong.
Farewell Miss Sara, we will all miss you, and welcome aboard Tina Chin, our new director of education.
As we move into the holiday seasons, we all have much to be grateful for as we continue to build America’s Living Symbol of Freedom with your support.
Onward and upward,