The Delta museum's air-conditioned archival storage room -- which is slightly smaller than the dining area of a typical fast-food restaurant -- contains the company's earliest existing passenger ticket, a 1929 trip costing $13.25 for a 120-mile flight from Monroe, La., where the airline once was based, to Jackson, Miss.
There's also a 1931 business card from C.E. Woolman, Delta's first CEO, that shows the company's Depression-era roots -- it displays a picture of a biplane cropdusting a field -- and a 1940s-era photo ID badge, new at the time because of World War II security concerns.
Capt. Michael Quiello, a 26-year Delta pilot and the airline's current vice president of corporate safety, security and compliance, visits the museum every few weeks, often looking at the company's old propeller planes.
'I think about who sat in that airplane in the 1940s and who was flying it and who came before me,' Quiello said, adding that the museum has helped him learn more about the company he works for. 'As a family, you try to find out your heritage and you kind of get an understanding ... the same thing goes for a company.'
Not all of Delta's treasures are on display -- most of the museum's artifacts are safely tucked away in the archival room's metal cabinets. Although the museum's old hangars have plenty of display space with at least 10,000 square feet each, they are not climate controlled, which is needed to keep fragile items such as old paper documents or uniforms from deteriorating.
The museum hopes to show more artifacts within an air-conditioned portion of 'The Spirit of Delta,' the Boeing 767 that company's employees purchased in December and eventually will be on display to the public, Varnedoe said.
Promotional materials on display in the museum provide a glimpse of the company's business during a particular time. A 1945 schedule depicts the start of Delta's cargo shipping business, shipping tomato plants from rural Tifton, Ga., to southern cities and providing landlubbers with fresh shrimp from Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga.
A scarf depicts the start of Delta's new DC-6 airplane service in 1948 from Miami to Chicago. Force used a 21st-century method to obtain that rare item for the nonprofit.
'I found it on eBay,' she said.
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