"Operation Sky Shield" was a big deal in the early Jet Age. On three occasions, in 1960, 1961, and 1962, all civilian air traffic was grounded for hours at a time while the US and Canadian military tested North American Cold War air defenses with mock USSR airborne attacks carried out by US bombers.
The airlines were given about eight weeks warning before the first Sky Shield exercise, and several carriers took advantage of the groundings to hold open houses at major airports throughout the U.S.
These events were hugely popular, and allowed large numbers of the public to see and tour the new Jet Age aircraft for the first time.
Then there was United's JETARAMA. In 1959 and 1960 (and before the first Sky Shield exercise took place), United Air Lines introduced their "JETARAMA" traveling show, consisting of three large tents, public displays, and tours at airports across the country.
Thousands of visitors toured United's new DC-8 jets at several JETARAMA events. (Yes, it's confusing. UAL later used the JETARAMA name at their pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair, and used the term "Jetarama Theater" as the name of their in-flight movie branding later in the 1960s).
In my neck of the woods, UAL held open houses at Willow Run, and many people in Southeast Michigan still remember the excitement of getting to have a look up-close and even inside the carrier’s gleaming new jets.*
But the excitement of the Jet Age soon faded, and like train stations and bus stations in earlier eras, the sheen and thrill of the Jet Age and JETARAMAs soon became a distant memory, if remembered at all.
— Chris Bidlack
*If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to watch Bruce Haviland's enthralling presentation, "The Airlines at Willow Run," in which he shares his memories and his wonderful collection of 1950s and 1960s-era photographs of airliner operations at Willow Run Airport, including United’s YIP open houses.