The Aerospace Gallery of the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, at Paine Field, was in disarray this week as workers removed exhibits in preparation for the museum’s new tenant, the Boeing Co. (Contributed photo)

The Aerospace Gallery of the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Mukilteo, at Paine Field, was in disarray this week as workers removed exhibits in preparation for the museum’s new tenant, the Boeing Co. (Contributed photo)

The future is past as Future of Flight exhibits are removed

The group that has run the Paine Field museum since 2005 is making way for new tenant Boeing.

MUKILTEO — The Institute of Flight, which operates the Future of Flight Aviation Center at Paine Field, is moving exhibits out of the center’s Aerospace Gallery this week, making way for the museum’s eventual takeover by the Boeing Co.

Boeing, which currently leases about 20 percent of the Future of Flight, is to take control of the entire center, including operations and exhibits, next month.

The Aerospace Gallery is closed through Friday and will reopen Saturday, Boeing spokesman Todd Kelley said in an email.

The activity will not affect the Boeing Tour, Kelley said. “Tours will continue uninterrupted through this transition.”

The Institute of Flight could not be reached for comment.

What’s next for the gallery is still up in the air.

The building, on the Mukilteo side of the airport, is owned by Snohomish County, which also owns and operates Paine Field.

The county’s contract with the Institute of Flight expires Oct. 11. The Institute, a nonprofit, has operated the museum since it opened in 2005.

The Institute’s executive director, Jeff Van Dyck, said in July that he expects the organization will disband once Boeing takes over operations.

In July, Boeing signed a letter of intent with the county to enter into a long-term lease for the Future of Flight building.

“The proposed date for Boeing to take lead of the facility is Oct. 12,” Kelley said.

“Plans for the gallery and other Boeing displays in the Future of Flight facility are still in the works. We will share those plans once they are finalized,” Kelley said.

The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour is one of the county’s most popular attractions. Together, they see about 500,000 visitors per year.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com, 425-339-3097. Twitter: JanicePods.

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