About the MuseumThe Story of Co-Founders John and Sue Paul
Love at First Sight
It all began with John Paul’s passion for airplanes. In the 1950s, he watched and listened as two Corsair fighter planes ripped through the sky over his third-grade classroom. He purchased his first plane by the time he was 20: a Fairchild PT-19 WWII trainer with an open cockpit.
Further down the road, John met a woman named Sue Painter and the two fell in love. In 1964, the couple married and purchased a P-40E shortly after, which they restored at their home in California.Source
The Museum Is Born
In 1986, Sue and John Paul moved to Boise, Idaho with two WWII era planes. When John began restoring a third plane in a hangar at the Caldwell Airport, people gathered to watch and witness the revival of history. Visitors began leaving boxes filled with WWII memorabilia, like uniforms and equipment, with notes attached that said, “Maybe you can do something with this.” The Paul’s knew they needed to preserve this history.
The museum began in that hangar at the Caldwell airport, but by 2000, there were so many donated pieces of history that they decided to relocate to Nampa.Source
In the ensuing 24 years, the museum has grown immensely. What started as a tribute to WWI/WWII veterans has expanded to include veterans’ history from the Iraq War, Persian Gulf War, Vietnam War, Korean War and Cold War.
Throughout the museum, donations from community members are also on display to educate future generations about national and local history. Families of local veterans and the veterans themselves have donated one-of-a-kind collections of uniforms, photos, medals, gear and written narratives describing battle experiences.
There are a number of permanent aircraft included in the museum’s collection, including:
Find the museum’s entire collection, including past and present visitors on our Aviation Collection page.
To this day, John spends most of his time in the maintenance hangar working on the old Warbirds to keep them running.
Serving Their Community
Sue Paul is a co-founder of the Warhawk Air Museum where she has served as the volunteer Executive Director for 26 years. Before taking on a full-time volunteer role at the museum, she spent her time teaching English as a Second Language to adults as well as tutoring adults with hearing and vision loss.
Like John, Sue is also a pilot. She is a member of the 99’s, an international women’s flying organization founded by Amelia Earhart.
Since leaving California, she has been an important part of the Boise community, serving as the Chairman of the Boise Chamber of Commerce International Committee and as an Idaho Delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Sue was selected as an Idaho Business Woman of the Year.
John and Sue Paul have been married for 52 years and now have three adult children and six grandchildren.
Explore Our Nation’s History at Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa, Idaho
The Warhawk Air Museum was created to preserve history and educate future generations about American veterans and their contributions to the freedoms we know as Americans today. As a not-for-profit organization, we are funded entirely by individual donations and private foundations.
Why we do what we do:
Dignify the pursuit of freedom.
Our Mission Statement
To educate visitors about the cost of freedom and honor those who paid its price.