Iconic exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum include the Wright Brothers’ Flyer, Chuck Yeager’s Bell X-1, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, Howard Hughes’ H-1 Racer, and Amelia Earhart’s sleek Vega 5B there is.

The hugely popular Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC houses the world’s largest and most important aerospace collection, covering all aspects of human flight.

It offers programs, educational activities, lectures, and performances that reflect the American spirit, innovation, courage, and optimism that have won the history, science, and technology of flight. Kids and adults alike will love walking around the Skylab Orbital Workshop and seeing the Apollo to the Moon exhibit.

History of the museum

The Smithsonian Institution’s relationship with flying began in 1861 when the first secretary, Joseph Henry, Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, invited him to inflate a hot air balloon on his property. In 1876, a group of 20 dragons was purchased by the Chinese Imperial Commission and later became the world’s largest collection of aerospace artifacts.

The collection was originally housed in the Institute’s Art and Industry Building, but was expanded after World War I into the Quonset Hut, built by the War Department behind 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 into law the establishment of the Smithsonian National Aviation Museum in 1946 to commemorate the evolution of aviation. Collection, storage and display of aviation equipment. Provides teaching materials for aeronautical studies. As technology continued to advance and collections expanded to include artifacts related to rocketry and space travel, it became clear that the museum was entering a new phase. To commemorate the advancement of science and space travel, we signed a bill to change its name to the National Air and Space Museum. Missiles and rockets have been added to the museum’s exhibit collection.

Funding for the construction of the new building was approved in 1971, and the new National Air and Space Museum building was inaugurated with great fanfare on July 1, 1976. In 1876 he began with a group of 20 dragons, and today he has grown to nearly 60,000 items, with other avionics kept at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. . Extraordinary collection. Together, both buildings welcome more than eight million visitors annually.

What you can do at the museum?

The Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall is the museum’s entrance gallery and a fascination for aviation enthusiasts. Spirit of St. Louis, North American X-15A-1, John Glenn’s Mercury spacecraft, Viking Lander, Pioneer 10, SpaceShipOne, and touchable moon samples.

How Things Fly is a fun, interactive gallery where children and adults can explore the principles of flight through hands-on activities. It features more than 50 interactive attractions, including a Cessna 150, a Boeing 757 fuselage section, a model of the International Space Station, and a visitor-operated supersonic wind tunnel.

Space enthusiasts will enjoy Exploring the Planets, which takes visitors on a tour of the solar system and shares some of the knowledge scientists have gained from studying the planets through space missions and observations from Earth. increase. The largest single artifact in this gallery is a scale replica of the Voyager spacecraft. And of course, the scale model of the Hubble Space Telescope is always a popular attraction and is featured in the Space Race exhibit.

Tickets and other practical things

The National Air and Space Museum is located on the National Mall southwest of Sixth Street and Independence Avenue. Close to metrorail stations on the blue, orange, yellow and green lines, the nearest metrorail station is at L’Enfant Plaza. Metrobus stops are located along Independence Avenue SW and 7th Street SW.

Admission is free, but charges apply for immersive experiences such as the IMAX theater planetarium and flight simulators. Museums often have extended opening hours in the spring and summer. For more information, please visit our website. Note:
In late 2018, the museum began his seven-year full-scale renovation, so the west wing of the building is currently closed for the first phase of the renovation. In 2022, the first new gallery will open to the public, and the east wing of the building will be closed for renovation.

Accessibility in museums

The Central Smithsonian Accessibility Office has an accessibility map showing accessible entrances, curb cuts, and designated parking for Smithsonian facilities on the National Mall. There are seven accessible parking spaces designated by the National Park Service on Jefferson Drive across from the museum. Visitors with accessible trailers or license plates can park for free in metered parking lots along Independence Avenue Southwest managed by the Washington, DC government.

The museum has two outdoor wheelchair-accessible ramps and an elevator access to the How Things Fly gallery on the ground floor and The Wright Brothers gallery on the second floor. Standard and bariatric wheelchairs are available for rent at the security desk. All restrooms are accessible and there are two family/companion restrooms at the entrance to the Flight Line Cafe on the ground floor.

Braille and tactile guides are available at the Southwest Airlines Welcome Center. The museum can be navigated using Aira, a free app that connects users to sighted agents who provide visual explanations upon request. Audio-guided guided tours and discovery stations with models and tactile components will be provided, and sign language interpreters will be available for tours, public programs, or evening lectures with advance notice.

Pre-visit social narratives to prepare visitors with cognitive and sensory processing disabilities about the situations they may encounter when visiting the museum, what to expect, museum rules, and other safety information is available. Read more about accessibility here.

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