History of the dnas museum

Before it was a Naval Air Station, it was just a municipal airport. Built in the 1920s by the City of DeLand, with its first asphalt runway put in around 1936, the field served the civilian community until the U.S. Navy came calling in 1941.  Heeding the same call for service that drew thousands of young men into military service, the City of DeLand donated its airport to the cause.  The Navy bought additional property nearby, encompassing what is now the DeLand Airport, and on November 17, 1942, opened the DeLand Naval Air Station. 

New facilities were constructed to house the military personnel and equipment as DeLand NAS became a major training base for Navy pilot/gunner teams flying the land-based PBO Ventura and PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol bombers, as well as the famous SBD Dauntless dive bombers, the carrier-based planes credited with the sinking of four Japanese aircraft carriers in the pivotal battle of Midway. In 1944, another carrier-based fighter, the F64 Hellcat, was added to the station’s training mission. 

In March of 1946, the DeLand Naval Air Station was officially closed, the tower was shut down, and the entire field was turned over to the City of DeLand.  Some of the buildings were occupied by Florida Military School from 1956 to 1971. 

50 years after the opening of the base, the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum came into being, housed in the former Master of Arms Residence, which had been donated by the City of DeLand.  Following an extensive restoration effort, the building was dedicated in November, 1995, and has become home to an impressive collection of historical artifacts, veterans’ mementos and military art that has grown steadily over the years.

In 2001, the Museum building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.​​

 


DNAS Flightline and Tower in 1942


Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber