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“It gives them hope. It came at a time during the financial worldwide meltdown and people were quite frankly beginning to question basic goodness of human nature, and this kind of reaffirmed our belief in the potential of good that exists in all of us,” he said.

The museum is raising money toward an exhibit that could cost $2.4 million, said president Shawn Dorsch. Officials say they had collected enough to transport the plane to Charlotte, where Arizona-based US Airways also has a hub.

Mr. Sullenberger said the splashdown inspired those involved to make changes. He has fought for better flight safety and improved working conditions for pilots.

“For many, it’s become an impetus for change, a catalyst for living a more authentic fuller life. For me, it’s given me the ability to be an advocate of important things,” he said.