The Wright Brothers & The Invention Of The Aerial Age
The original 1903 Wright Flyer is the centerpiece of the exhibit that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Explore the beginning of flight with over 250 photographs and 150 artifacts that includes a reproduction of the Wright Brothers 1899 experimental kite.
National Air And Space Museum
|Location within Washington, D.C.Show map of Central Washington, D.C.National Air and Space Museum Show map of the United States|
|1946 76 years ago|
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, also called the Air and Space Museum, is a museum in Washington, D.C., US. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and opened its main building on the National Mall near L’Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2018, the museum saw approximately 6.2 million visitors, making it the fifth most visited museum in the world, and the second most visited museum in the United States. In 2020, due to long closures and a drop in foreign tourism caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, museum attendance dropped to 267,000. The museum contains the Apollo 11Command Module Columbia, the Friendship 7 capsule which was flown by John Glenn, Charles Lindbergh‘s Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 which broke the sound barrier, the model of the starship Enterprise used in the science fiction television show Star Trek: The Original Series, and the Wright brothers‘Wright Flyer airplane near the entrance.
Accessibility At The Museum
The Central Smithsonian Accessibility Office has an accessibility map that depicts accessible entrances, curb cuts and designated parking for Smithsonian facilities on the National Mall. There are seven National Park Service designated accessible parking spaces located on Jefferson Drive across from the museum. Visitors with disability hang tags or license plates can park for free at metered spaces controlled by the DC government along Independence Avenue SW.
The museum has two wheelchair-accessible exterior ramps, and an elevator is available at the entrance to the How Things Fly gallery on the first level and The Wright Brothers gallery on the second level. Standard and bariatric wheelchairs are available on loan from the security desk. All restrooms are accessible, and there are two family/companion care restrooms inside the Flight Line Café entrance on the first level.
Braille and tactile guides are available at the Southwest Airlines Welcome Center. The museum can be navigated with Aira, a free app that connects users with sighted agents who provide visual descriptions on-demand. Audio-described, docent-led tours and discovery stations with models and tactile components are provided, and sign language interpreters can be made available for tours, public programs or evening lectures with advance notice.
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How To Submit Your Reservation Request
You must create a user account in order to request a reserved program at the National Air and Space Museum. After creating your account, you will be able to search for available reserved programs and submit your reservation request.
If you already have an account, please sign in above. Forgot your password?
Construction Of Current Building
The museum’s prominent site on the National Mall once housed the city’s armory, which became Armory Square Hospital during the Civil War it nursed the worst wounded cases who were transported to Washington after battles. The rest of the site was occupied by a cluster of temporary war buildings that existed from World War I until the 1960s.
The space race in the 1950s and 1960s led to the renaming of the museum to the National Air and Space Museum, and finally congressional passage of appropriations for the construction of the new exhibition hall, which opened July 1, 1976 at the height of the United States Bicentennial festivities under the leadership of Director Michael Collins, who had flown to the Moon on Apollo 11.
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Tickets And Other Practicalities
The National Air and Space Museum is located on the National Mall at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW. It is near Metrorail stops on the blue, orange, yellow and green lines, and the closest Metrorail stop is at L’Enfant Plaza. Metrobus stops are located on Independence Avenue SW and along 7th Street SW.
Admission is free, although there are charges for immersive experiences including the IMAX theater planetarium and flight simulators. The museum often observes extended hours during the spring and summer – check the website for details.
Note: In late 2018, the museum began a seven-year complete renovation so the west wing of the building is currently closed for the first phase of the renovation. In 2022, the first new galleries will begin to open to the public and the east wing of the building will close for renovation.
How Long To Spend At The Museum
The National Air and Space Museum has 23 galleries exhibiting hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and other flight-related artifacts, as well as a planetarium and an IMAX theater – however in 2021 during renovations only 6 of them are open.
With so many things to see and do, we recommend budgeting at least 2 hours to see the museum.
During renovations of the National Mall location, many of these exhibits may be closed. You could probably see the entire museum in less than 2 hours during this time.
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National Air And Space Museum Hours And Location
The museum is located on Jefferson Drive, between 4th and 7th Streets, SW., and admission is always free. Regular hours are 10 a.m. 5:30 p.m.
The easiest way to reach the museum is via Metrorail or Metrobus. The closest Metro stop is The closest metro station is LEnfant Plaza: . The 32, 34 and 36 Metrobus routes, as well as the DC Circulators National Mall route, will all take you to the Mall, which you can explore in full once youve experienced the Air and Space Museums wonders. The facility is handicap accessible.
Whats Inside The National Air And Space Museum
The Air and Space Museum takes visitors to the sky, showcasing the amazing technological achievements that have progressed aviation and space exploration throughout the last century. Our fascination with flight is still alive and well, as the museum is one of the most visited in the world year-after-year.
As you may imagine, the historical objects on display are fundamental to the story of flight. The 1903 Wright Flyer owns the distinction of flying the worlds first successful flight, and you can see the groundbreaking flying machine in person. Theres also Charles Lindberghs Spirit of St. Louis, the first aircraft to complete a nonstop flight from New York to Paris.
The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, the only portion of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to return to Earth, is currently at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Visitors can also see the spacesuit astronaut Neil Armstrong wore during his mission to the moon and touch a sample of a lunar rock brought back from the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
The Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall features the Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis , aviation and spaceflight stories and an exclusive mobile experience that will let visitors personalize their exploration like never before.
The Air and Space Museum Planetarium is closed until 2022. The IMAX Theater, Observatory, tours, and educational programs will be on hold until further notice.
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Washington Dc Must See Sights Half
FromCL$ 60,315per group up to 20
See all of the top sights in Washington DC from the comfort of an air-conditioned bus. Enjoy a jam-packed 3 hours with an expert guide who will get on and off the bus, give you the history and important facts, and leave you with a wealth of knowledge.
Select Participants And Date
Meet on the corner of 9th and Pennsylvania NW, outside the north side of the National Archives Building and across the street from the Archives Metro Station. For GPS devices, use the address 800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Please arrive no later than 9:30 AM.
FromCL$ 60,315per group up to 20
Our last day, we took the 3 hour tour, thinking it would be OK – it was fabulous! Just the right amount of walking, a bathroom with us, with a fantastic tour guide who was extremely knowledgeable and hilarious! Our only issue was trying to find the right tour bus, since so many take off from the same spot. Arrive more than 15 minutes early so you can find your bus! Our tour person at 10:30am April 16 was a lady around 5’4″ so she held a neon orange baton in the air so we could find her in the crowds and it really was helpful. At the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, too many people to know where she was, but you could see that baton! She was also great with the many kids that were on the bus who at first was fussy and talking loud. She not only engaged them by having them participate in Q& A, she had them wanting to participate! I learned so much & had fun doing it! I hope next year we come back, we get the same guide and do the all day tour!
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National Air And Space Museums Steven F Udvar
Aviation buffs who cant get enough of the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall will want to make a trip to the museums other location, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located in Virginia near Washington Dulles International Airport.
The Udvar-Hazy Center, opened in 2003, displays many of the aviation and space artifacts that cant be shown on the Mall due to space limitations. Among the aircraft youll find here are the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world the Boeing Dash 80, the prototype of the 707 the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Spend time watching flights land at Dulles Airport from the Donald Engen Observation Tower, or catch a movie at the Airbus IMAX Theatre. The theatre features 45-minute films that connect to the Museums collection, and has also resumed showing Hollywood features in the evening. Visit si.edu/theaters for the most up-to-date information.
The centers National Aviation and Space Exploration Wall of Honor is also worth a look. It serves as a permanent memorial to the thousands of Americans who have contributed to aviation and space exploration.
History Of The Museum
The Smithsonian Institute’s connection to flight began in 1861 when its first secretary, Joseph Henry, invited Thaddeus S.C. Lowe to inflate his hot air balloon on its grounds. In 1876, a group of 20 kites was acquired from the Chinese Imperial Commission, seeding what would later become the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world.
The collections were first housed in the institute’s Arts and Industries building, and were expanded after World War I to a Quonset hut erected by the War Department behind the Smithsonian Castle. Affectionately known as the “Tin Shed,” the new building opened to the public in 1920 and remained in use for the next 55 years.
President Harry Truman signed a bill in 1946 establishing the Smithsonian’s National Air Museum to memorialize the development of aviation collect, preserve and display aeronautical equipment and provide educational material for the study of aviation.
As the technology continued to advance and the collection expanded to include artifacts related to rocketry and spaceflight, it became clear that the museum was entering a new phase. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a law that changed the name to the National Air and Space Museum to memorialize the development of both aviation and spaceflight. The museum’s collection on display expanded to include missiles and rockets.
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What To Do At The Museum
The Boeing Milestones of Flight Hallis the museum’s entrance gallery, and it will appeal to aviation enthusiasts as it showcases the Spirit of St. Louis, the North American X-15A-1, John Glenns Mercury spacecraft, the Viking Lander, Pioneer 10, SpaceShipOne and a touchable lunar sample.
How Things Flyis a fun, interactive gallery allowing children and adults to explore the principles of flight through hands-on activities. It features a Cessna 150, a section of a Boeing 757 fuselage, a model of the International Space Station and more than 50 interactives, including a visitor-operated supersonic wind tunnel.
Space-lovers will enjoy Exploring the Planets, which takes visitors on a tour of the solar system and imparts some of the knowledge scientists have acquired by exploring the planets via space missions and observations from Earth. The largest single artifact in this gallery is a full-scale replica of a Voyager spacecraft.
And of course, the full-scale mock-up of the Hubble Space Telescope is always a popular attraction and is on display in the Space Race exhibition.
The Museum Will Reopen With Eight New Galleries On October 14 Free Timed
We are thrilled to be able to share the first eight galleries of the transformed museum with our visitors. We expect a strong interest in visiting, so we are implementing a requirement for free timed passes for all visitors to ensure a great experience.
Free timed-entry passes will be available to reserve starting September 14. Additional information on where and how to get passes online will be released in the coming weeks.
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @airandspace, check on our website, or sign up for our newsletter to be informed when we release details on getting passes.
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So How Do You Get Tickets To Visit The Smithsonian In 2022
- Only NMAAHC and National Zoo require tickets. The Air and Space Museum on the National Mall will require tickets when it reopens.
- Tickets are available for groups of 12 or less. Groups larger than 12 people are prohibited. However, you can only book up to 6 tickets at a time. Groups 6-12 will need to make two reservations.
- You will need a ticket for each person, regardless of age.
OVERWHELMED? We offer private Smithsonian museum tours to groups of 5 or less of American History, National Gallery of Art, Natural History, National Archives, Air and Space and National Portrait Gallery! Find out more.
Daily 8am – 4pm
Entrance to the National Zoo required timed tickets, and parking passes will need to be reserved in advance as well. While tickets are free, there is a fee to park at the Zoo lot.
PANDAS: Heads up, there will be a second timed ticket needed to visit the Panda exhibit! When you arrive, look for the Panda statues with a QR code to get the ticket link. Tickets are released every hour for that time slot and they go quick. Expect to start refreshing at :29!
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE TICKETS
Wednesday – Sunday 10am-530pm
Even before COVID, this museum required timed tickets at busy times. Tickets are released at 8am each day for the next month 30 days out They sell out within the first few minutes!
You can get same day tickets to the museum by checking online at 8:15am
AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM
Udvar Hazy: Daily 10am-530pm
A Museum That Goes Above And Beyond
Glimpse the 1903 Wright Flyer, run your hands over moon rock and experience the larger-than-life world of aviation and space travel at the National Air and Space Museum. Since opening on the National Mall in 1976, this hub of all things flight has educated and inspired future generations of pilots and astronauts from around the world. The museum contains the largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world. All components of human flight are on display, including related art and archival materials.
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Limit The Number Of Bags
All visitors are screened through metal detectors upon entry. The fewer items you bring inside the Museum, the faster your entry . Before you visit, please review the list of prohibited items, which include pocket knives and tripods. Visitors carrying prohibited items will not be allowed inside the Museum, so please leave them at home or in your car.
National Air And Space Museum Travel Tips
- Be sure to book the tickets to the IMAX shows in advance during tourist season.
- There is a security check and you are not allowed knives or large bags inside the museum so be dressed accordingly.
- You are allowed to take food inside.
- There are often lectures, talks and events that take place here so do check them out if you want to learn more.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Food and drinks not allowed in museum.
- Wheelchairs are available.
- No public parking available at the Smithsonian on the National Mall.
- 60-minute guided student group tour available.
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Kenneth C Griffin Exploring The Planets Gallery
Want to gain an understanding of the diverse worlds circling our sun? The Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery probes the science and history of our exploration of planets and moons. The exhibition draws on research from scientists in the museums Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, who are actively involved in current planetary missions.
Phoebe Waterman Haas Public Observatory
This is an often overlooked part of the museum since its actually outside the museum on the eastern terrace, near the intersection of Independence Ave SW and 4th St.
Opened in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, the 16-inch Boller & Chivens telescope, as well the Sun Gun Telescope, and other instruments, are available for public use Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 3 pm.
They also do monthly evening programs check the for more information.
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