POOLER, Ga. (WSAV) — A major expansion is in store for the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. The 10 million dollar campaign is underway with plans to update and expand their exhibits and facilities.

Eighty years ago the preservation of the stories of the Eighth Air Force started. Now the 350,000 men and women who served in the largest air armada in world history will continue to inspire future generations through what will be a 30,000 square foot expansion.

“Folks like Chip and his fellow comrades in the air, they saved the world. This museum saves their stories,” John O’Neil the Co-Chair of the museum’s Maximum Effort project explained.

The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force preserves stories like those of 97-year-old veteran Charles. P. “Chip” Phillips, who is the last surviving member of his crew.

“I was in the Eighth Air Force, the 92nd bomb group. All my crew is gone. I’m the only one to survive. My crew and the crew of nine, and most of my phone book and address book, most of them are gone,” Phillips said.

Every year, thousands walk through the museum’s atrium to learn the stories of valor and patriotism, but many of those stories don’t always make it through to the next generation.

“My father was a pilot in the Eighth Air Force, flew 32 missions. I personally didn’t have the curiosity when I was growing up to ask my father lots of questions and try to draw stories from him, and that’s tread of young people generally,” Richard “Sandy” Alderson a Uber of the Mighty Eighth Foundation Board of Trustees said adding his support for the project’s focus on making the history accessible to younger generations.

The Maximum Effort expansion will extend the museum, adding a full sized B-17 on display in the Combat Gallery. 87 percent of the museum’s collections are behind closed doors, the addition will expand gallery space for new exhibitions and the STEM Education Center—creating better access to historical accounts and funding for preservation efforts.

“This campaign is really about keeping the museum relevant for the next generation who needs to hear the message but maybe wants to hear the message different than they did 25 years ago,” Alderson explained.

Board members said the expansion will increase digital interaction for people around the world to learn the incredible stories of the Eighth Air Force. They will break ground in the fall with the project completion expected to take two years.