National Air and Space Museum

What is the National Air and Space Museum?

The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum is spread across two facilities, holding and displaying the Institution's collection of aircraft and spacecraft; the largest in the world. The museum's primary facility is located on the National Mall, with a larger building and grounds, the National Air and Space Museum - Udvar-Hazy Center located in Virginia near Dulles International Airport.

What Exhibits and Highlights are at the National Air and Space Museum?

The museum features many permanent exhibits:

  • America by Air: Explore commercial flight in the United States, featuring a Boeing 747 fuselage and other aircraft, including a Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-3.

  • Apollo to the Moon: Learn about the Apollo missions with parts, test vehicles, and models involved in the missions. Highlights include an F-1 Engine, Skylab 4 Command Module, and Lunar Roving Vehicle.

  • Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery: See aircraft and artifacts flown and used by some of the earliest pioneers in air travel. This exhibit includes the first aircraft to fly nonstop from coast to coast, and aircraft flown by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.

  • Early Flight: Gliders, early airplanes, and other contraptions amongst the first to fly are featured in this exhibit. Highlights include the world's first military plane, the 1909 Wright Military Flyer.

  • Explore the Universe: Learn about the tools used to view and explore the universe. Highlights include a Hubble Space Telescope backup mirror, and an early telescope from the late 1700's.

  • Exploring the Planets: Discover the tools used to explore the solar system with this exhibit which includes replica spacecraft.

  • Golden Age of Flight: Planes transitioned from wood and canvas to shining metal during the 1920's and 30's. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum displays this Golden Age of Flight with aircraft including air racing models like the Hughes H-1.

  • How Things Fly: Learn about the fundamentals of flight through hands on activities, live demonstrations, and a Boeing 757 Fuselage.

  • Jet Aviation: Beginning during World War II, jet engines transformed flight for everyone. The exhibit features revolutionary German and US jet aircraft.

  • Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air: Explore the nature of air warfare during World War I, including their roles in reconnaissance and bombing. The exhibit includes many period aircraft.

  • Looking at the Earth: Air and space technologies changed the way humans are able to see their own planet. See aircraft including the Lockheed U-2, a well known reconnaissance airplane, and several models of weather satellites.

  • Lunar Exploration Vehicles: Probes, rovers, and other spacecraft have helped humans explore the moon, solar system, and beyond. At this exhibit, see models of a lunar probe, the Apollo Lunar Module, and more.

  • Milestones of Flight: In the museum's entry hall, see some of the most influential air and space vehicles in history. These include Lindbergh's Spirt of St. Louis, a replica of Sputnik 1, the Apollo 11 Command Module, SpaceShipOne, and much more.

  • Military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV): See six aircraft, both small and large, which are controlled remotely.

  • Moving Beyond Earth: Interactive digital displays show views from beyond earth, and other presentations.

  • Sea-Air Operations: The ability to combine sea and air operations has greatly improved the mobility and flexibility. This exhibit will immerses you in life on a carrier with a simulated bridge where you can watch aircraft take off the carrier's deck. Several early aircraft which can be launched at see are on display.

  • Space Race: The Cold War focused international attention on space, and fueled the advent of revolutionary space technology. In this exhibit see the Soyuz TM-10 landing module, Hubble Test Telescope, a backup Skylab workshop, and several rockets.

  • The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age: Wilber and Orville Wright set of the age of flight in Kitty Hawk, NC. The 1903 Wright Flyer and reproductions of their earlier gliders are on display.

  • Time and Navigation: Long range air travel requires the ability to know where you are and where you are going. Discover the technology used to navigate, see a plane which circled the globe twice, and a car which can drive and navigate itself.

  • World War II Aviation: World War II saw significant innovation in military aircraft. See many of the aircraft designed and operated during the war in this exhibit.

The museum also runs special exhibitions throughout the year. For a current listing, see the museum's current exhibitions.

Many permanent and special exhibits are found at the National Air and Space Museum - Udvar-Hazy Center.

When is the National Air and Space Museum Open?

  • The Smithsonian Institution's Museums are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Close extended until 7:30 p.m. some days (details)
  • Closed December 25, and for some weather related events.

Where is the National Air and Space Museum?

The National Air and Space Museum is located on the National Mall between the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and National Museum of the American Indian.

What does it cost to visit the National Air and Space Museum?

As with other Smithsonian Institution museums and galleries, there is no cost for admission to the National Air and Space Museum.

What metro station is closest to the National Air and Space Museum?

Three stations are close to the museum:

Where can I learn more about the National Air and Space Museum?

Learn more at



10am - 5:30pm daily; sometimes extended to 7:30pm, except December 25




Independence Ave. at 6th St., SW
Washington, DC

blog comments powered by Disqus