SAN BERNARDINO - Pieces of history will tell the story of Norton Air Force Base at the base's new museum when it opens in January.

The new Norton Air Force Base Museum will feature a collection of memorabilia and photographs from when the base opened 50 years ago until it closed in 1991.

And to help fill it, Norton wants your stuff. That is, items related to the base during those years.

An important part in the region's history, Norton AFB in its heyday was the lifeblood of the area, employing thousands of troops and civilians.

"We started construction with an empty room and hopes of building a museum, and now we're starting to collect items," said Catherine Pritchett, senior assistant to the executive director of the San Bernardino International Airport - formerly Norton.

Norton Air Force Base Museum

Hours for donations: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, beginning today

What to bring: All Norton Air Force Base-related donations - other than firearms and munitions - will be accepted. No item is too small or obscure.

Address: 1601 E. Third St., San Bernardino

Information: 909-382-7307 or www.nafbmuseum.org

"The memorial bricks were delivered today, and it was a benchmark - an awesome display," Pritchett said.

Norton's 63/445 Veterans Group, headed by retired Air Force flight engineer Ed Jeffries, accepted delivery of their memorial bricks Wednesday, a project years in the making.

"We'll start building the memorial when the model C-141 airplane comes from Florida - which should be next week. It will be gorgeous," Jeffries said.

"I really feel elated. This has been such a long, hard pull, but it's finally coming together. We fought a difficult battle," he added.

Pritchett said the support from the veterans group has been invaluable to the museum project.


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The veterans' memorial will greet visitors at the entryway, but the interior will be full of historic treasures.

"We look forward to meeting and working with people who have Norton-related stories to tell or items to donate," said Bob Edwards, the president of the Norton AFB Museum board of directors. "New members and volunteers are always welcome."


Contact Michel via email, by phone at 909-386-3859, or follow her on Twitter @MichelNolan.