Parts of a vintage 727 jetliner were chained to a flatbed on Thursday and hauled to a hangar to gather dust. It was once the team place for the Vancouver Canucks. Now, it's benched like almost all of the artifacts at Everett's Future of Flight Museum.
"It's a melancholy feeling, of course," said Executive Director Jeff Van Dyck.
With the county-owned museum's lease ending this year, officials have been looking for ways to maximize the investment in the facility. Boeing, which had been leasing 20 percent of the building, offered to take it over completely.
The Boeing Tour at Paine Field is the top tourist attraction in Snohomish County. The museum has been an integral piece of the tour since it opened in 2005. More than 400,000 people come from 170 countries to explore it every year.
"I believe Boeing wanted to make this more Boeing-branded and tie it more into the tour so as people are waiting on the tour they have someplace to go and explore," said Van Dyck.
Boeing isn't saying exactly what it plans to do with the space, except that it will "expand and enhance visitor experiences and increase community engagement at the facility." The Boeing tour itself will continue throughout the process.
For now, the airplanes that were once suspended from the ceiling are gone. Thirteen years of educating and entertaining people from around the world are a memory. Some of the artifacts will be donated to non-profits, others simply mothballed.
For workers like Jody Hawkins, it's tough to see it all go away.
"I'm excited about the changes, but I wasn't expecting to be so emotional about it. I stood and cried quite a bit on Monday. It was hard," Hawkins said.
Boeing takes over the museum on October 12. The company will release details about its plans when they are finalized later this fall. The company stresses tours will continue while those decision are being made.