National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum is located on the mall, and is the most popular of the Smithsonian
museums. It has the largest collection of aircraft and spacecraft in the
world and severs as a center for research into the history, science, and
technology of aviation and spaceflight. Almost all the aircraft on display are originals
or backup crafts to the originals.
The center of the museum is the "Milestones of Flight" exhibit. Some of
the most important craft of the aerospace history is located there. Aircraft sit on
the floor or are hung from the ceiling.
The museum was formed on August 12, 1946 by an act of Congress,
some pieces in the Museum collection date back to the 1876 Centennial Exposition in
Philadelphia after which China donated a group of kites to the Smithsonian. The Stringfellow
steam engine intended for aircraft was brought into the collection in 1889,
the first piece actively acquired by the Smithsonian now in the current NASM collection.
After the establishment of the museum, there was no one building that could hold all
the items to be displayed. Some pieces were on display in the Arts and Industries
Building, some were stored in a shed in the Smithsonian's South Yard that came to be
known as the "Air and Space Building", and the larger missiles and rockets were
displayed outdoors in "Rocket Row."
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.
For More Information
try one of the links below
Smithsonian Home Page
Smithsonian Collection Database
Air and Space Einstein Planetarium
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