Arkansas’ six congressional delegates on Wednesday introduced legislation to “authorize references to the museum located at Blytheville/Eaker Air Force Base in Blytheville, Arkansas, as the National Cold War Center.”
House Bill 859 was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services.
Community leaders in 2019 announced plans for a museum at the decommissioned base to tell the history of the Cold War and the U.S. military’s response. The first on-site exhibit opened in 2020. It depicts the history of the Blytheville/Eaker Air Force Base and the role it played in defending the country.
Museum supporters aim to make the center a major Delta tourism destination. In November, Nucor Steel Arkansas and Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. each donated $500,000 to the museum. In September, the museum received $1.9 million in state funds to advance its plans.
“Giving this historic military base Congressional recognition will ensure that the museum is able to continue to teach its visitors about the Cold War for generations to come,” U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said in a statement.
The base opened in 1942 as a training facility for World War II pilots. In 1958, the base was converted to a Strategic Air Command alert mission.
It remained a key U.S. military command through events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the signing of the treaties that officially ended the Cold War in the early 1990s.
“Our bill will officially recognize the museum in Blytheville as the nation’s National Cold War Center, which will help preserve this important history and be a boon to local tourism,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton said.