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.
One Museum Two Locations
The Museum’s two buildings house thousands of artifacts showcased in exhibitions on aviation, space exploration, and planetary science. At both of its locations, the Museum presents programs, educational activities, lectures, and performances that reflect the American spirit, and the innovation, courage, and optimism that have led to triumphs in the history, science and technology of flight. At the Museum in Washington, DC, which opened in 1976 and is located in the heart of the Smithsonian complex in Washington, DC, some of the most awe-inspiring icons of flight are on display. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located near Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia, is a massive structure with open, hangar-like settings that accommodate large aircraft and spacecraft, as well as entire collections of aviation and space artifacts.
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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In Flights First Decade The Challengesand The Possibilitieswere Endless
In the spring of 1909, vintners and city officials in the city of Reims in the Champagne region of France began planning an event for August of that year that would be called Le Grande Semaine DAviation de la Champagne . Just the year before, Wilbur Wright had dazzled the French aeronautical community and fueled a growing enthusiasm for the airplane. At Reims, 400,000 people gathered, and the event electrified its audience. Reims marked the introduction of the airplane to the world. It was the first time many people, especially those in government and the military, would see more than one airplane in the air at a time.
A new gallery at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum will invite visitors to imagine that era when airplanes first took to the sky and to learn about all the exciting work that followed. The Early Flight gallery will explore how the idea of flight progressed from an ancient dream to reality and how, in just over a decade, the airplane developed into a technology that would shape the future.
Early Flight,Early Flight.
The first generation of aviators was made up of a surprising variety of people of different ages, origins, races, and genders. An interactive database of pilots from around the world shows just how varied the early aviators were. Digital scrapbooks aimed at younger visitors will give insight into the backgrounds and achievements of Harriet Quimby, Katherine Wright, and Alberto Santos-Dumont and their influence on early aviation.
National Air And Space Museum Smithsonian
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is at the National Mall in Washington, DC. It has the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world.The museum has 22 exhibition galleries. They display hundreds of artifacts including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo 11 command module. Museum has 161,145 square feet of exhibition floor space. It was established in 1946, as the National Air Museum, and opened its main building in 1976. It is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics. Almost all space and aircraft on display are originals or backups to the originalsThe collection includes more than 30,000 aviation-related and more than 9,000 space related artifacts.
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National Air And Space Museum To Temporarily Close March 2022 To Finish Brand New Galleries
The National Air and Space Museum will temporarily close on March 28, 2022. When it reopens in fall 2022, it will reopen with eight new galleries.
This week, we announced that the National Air and Space Museum location on the National Mall in Washington, DC, will temporarily close to the public on March 28, 2022, and reopen in fall 2022. This closure will allow us to complete work on the first new galleries to reopen as part of our renovation. When our flagship building reopens in fall 2022 stay tuned next year for the official reopening date! it will be with eight new reimagined galleries. Some are new versions of old favorites, and some are brand-new to the museum. All will include artifacts never before on display in the DC location . At that time we will also be reopening our flagship museum store and the Albert Einstein Planetarium.
Get a sneak peek at the galleries to come below and let us know which exhibitions youre looking forward to most!
Thomas W. Haas We All Fly
America by Air
Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery
One World Connected
The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age
Jeff Bezos Gifts Historic $200 Million To The Smithsonian
The Amazon founders giftthe largest since the Institution was created in 1846will support the Air and Space Museum renovation and a new education center
Senior Editor, Museums
Untitled, Jeffrey P. Bezos
In 1826, the British scientist James Smithson wrote an unusual will designating the United States as the recipient of a considerable fortune: a gift of $508,318 to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. That bequest, worth about $310 million in todays dollars, has since grown into a massive educational complex home to more than two dozen museums and galleries, multiple research centers, and libraries and archives staffed by the thousands.
Today, the Smithsonian Institution announced it had received a gift of $200 millionthe largest since Smithsons original bequest.
The donor is Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chair of Amazon. Bezos, who revolutionized the retail industry, was also the 2016 recipient of Smithsonian magazines prestigious American Ingenuity Award for his innovative and expansive spaceflight program Blue Origin, which is dedicated to lowering the cost of spaceflight with its reusable launch vehicles. In six days, the company will launch its 16th New Shepard flight to space, carrying a crewincluding Bezoson board for the first time.
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The Return Of A Legend
Star Trek: The Original Series used ground-breaking visual effects techniques to create the iconic space scenes featuring the USS Enterprise. The centerpiece of this work was an 11-foot-long model of Enterprise and in 1974 Paramount donated it to the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum where it has been on display in various locations over the decades with its latest display put up following a significant conservation project on the model in 2016.
Restored USS Enterprise on display at the National Air and Space Museum
In 2019 the model was taken off display as part of the museums larger renovation. While the full renovation will not be completed until later this year, the museum has announced that the Enterprise will be back on display earlier than expected. According to a spokesperson for the museum, the filming model display will be available to the public starting on October 14 as part of the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. According to the museum, the USS Enterprise model will be in the south lobby and will be displayed very similarly as it was before, including the same case.
You can learn more about the model at the museum at airandspace.si.edu. And the video below promotes the return of the museum this fall.
According to the museum, the ship is still in good condition in storage during the museums renovation and has not required any additional work. The video below shows some of the work done for the 2016 restoration of the model.
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.
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Mission: Commemorate Educate Inspire
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum collects, preserves, studies, and exhibits artifacts, archival materials, and works of art related to the history, culture, and science of aviation and spaceflight and the study of the universe. Its research and outreach activities serve all audiences, within and beyond its walls. The Museum commemorates the past and is committed to educating and inspiring people to foster appreciation for the importance of flight to humanity.
Smithsonians National Air And Space Museum Will Temporarily Close For Renovation
The National Air and Space Museums flagship building on the National Mall will temporarily close to the public March 28, 2022, until fall 2022 to complete work on the first new galleries in the west wing of the building. The museum has been undergoing a major renovation since late 2018.
This closure is needed to ensure the continued safety of visitors. To provide the best visitor experience, the museums west-end galleries will open all at one time their opening date will be announced next year. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the museums companion facility in Chantilly, Virginia, will operate as usual with regular visiting hours and events. The museum will also continue doing virtual events and has robust online materials about the collection.
The west-end exhibitions opening in fall 2022 will include America by Air, The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age, Nation of Speed, Thomas W. Haas We All Fly, One World Connected, Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery, Destination Moon and Early Flight. The museum store and Albert Einstein Planetarium will also open in the fall.
The second half of the project will begin at the end of March 2022 with the deinstallation of the east wing of the building. The completion of that wing, the culmination of the project and the opening of the remaining exhibitions are currently scheduled for 2025.
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1. Before you come:
- All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask while visiting Smithsonian museums and indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
- Face coverings should fit properly, covering the nose, mouth, and chin with no large gaps on the outside of the face, and they should have at least two layers.
- Face shields are not permitted as a substitute for a face covering but may be worn over a face covering or mask.
- Face coverings or masks with an exhalation valve are not permitted.
2. While youre here:
Construction Of Current Building
The museums prominent site on the National Mall once housed the citys 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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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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