Reimagined Exhibit at the IMAG Tells the Story of a Lost WWII B26 Marauder
Fort Myers, Fla. (February 12, 2017) – The IMAG History & Science Center has enhanced its B26 Maurader Exhibit which displays remnants of a crash that occurred off the coast of Sanibel in November 1942. The refreshed exhibit opens on Saturday, May 12, with a series of graphically designed panels that detail the incredible story of the WW II bomber and its crew who perished in the crash. Parts of the plane were donated to the Southwest Florida Museum of History (which has since merged with the Imaginarium Science Center to create the IMAG) by Underwater Historical Explorations (UHE) in 2008. Executive director Matt Johnson said, “We decided it was the perfect time to bring the story behind this exhibit to the forefront, as it is the ten-year anniversary of a longstanding mystery solved by the UHE team.”
In 2008 Tim Wicburg, the Fort Myers fishing boat captain who discovered the plane 17 years prior, partnered with UHE, made up of former Chicago resident, Tom O’Brien and hall of fame diver, captain Jon Hazelbaker. They led an extensive excavation of the crash site in May of that year. Subsequently, they donated the pieces that now make up the exhibit on display at the IMAG. After realizing they had found a military plane that had been missing for 66 years, they conducted lengthy research about the origins of the plane, and its crew. Little did they know they would uncover the cause of the crash and clear the name of the pilot, having the official record changed from “pilot error” to “mechanical error.” Visitors to the IMAG will have the opportunity to learn about this extraordinary discovery and the lives of the crew members.
Some family members of the crew will be in Fort Myers to mark the ten-year anniversary of UHE’s discovery and are scheduled to visit the crash site the evening of Saturday, May 12. A brief memorial service will be conducted with prayers, remembrances, and the placing of flowers on the water. UHE divers will transport items from the families to the Gulf floor that afternoon. Johnson will join the crew for the dive and said, “There is nothing like witnessing the site of such a historical occurence up close and experience what has been left behind.” The family members and UHE team will gather at the IMAG the next day to see the exhibit and hear a presentation.
IMAG History and Science Center is a family-friendly destination offering fun interactive exhibits, an aquarium, history displays and a 3D theatre. The mission is to engage guests in the exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and more recently the history of Southwest Florida. This is achieved through hands-on experiences and educational programs that further the understanding of the natural and human-made world, and foster an appreciation for Southwest Florida’s unique environment, natural waterways, and rich history. A visit to IMAG nurtures intellectual curiosity, discovery, and innovation. For more information, visit www.theIMAG.org or visit in person – 2000 Cranford Avenue | Fort Myers, Fla. 33916