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    • The Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in DC is not open at this time.The Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia is Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Timed Entry tickets are required and can be obtained at Air & Space Tickets
  • The Rutan Voyager is on display in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. This is one of the first things you will see when you enter.  In 1986, the Voyager demonstrated the strength and efficiency of an all-composite air frame by flying nonstop around the world without refueling.
  • The Starship Enterprise is also on display Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall when you enter. The Enterprise was meant to travel many times beyond light speed, powered by a controlled matter/anti-matter system, a propulsion concept "stretched" from a then-accepted theory. The fictional ship grossed 190,000 tons, and measured 947 feet long and 417 feet in diameter. The saucer-shaped hull included 11 decks, and had a crew complement of 430.
  • The most significant pre-Wright brothers aeronautical experimenter was the German glider pioneer Otto Lilienthal. Between 1891 and 1896, he built and flew a series of highly successful full-size gliders. Beyond his technical contributions, he sparked aeronautical advancement from a psychological point of view, as well by unquestionably demonstrating that gliding flight was possible. He was a great inspiration to the Wright brothers in particular. They adopted his approach of glider experimentation and used his aerodynamic data as a starting point in their own research.
  • An original Wright brothers-built bicycle, one of only five in the world, is on display in the Wright Brothers Exhibit on the 2nd floor at the Air and Space Museum. In 1898 this bicycle sold for $42.50.  Notice the rims are made of wood.
  • Before the Wright Brothers began their research of flight, they first wrote to the Smithsonian Institution in May of 1899 to request information about publications on aeronautics. At this time, they were not the "Wright Brothers" who flew the first airplane; they were simply two brothers who owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio.
  • That letter is also on display in the Wright Brothers Exhibit.
  • In 1927 Charles Lindbergh's flight between New York and Paris was very long, risky, and physically demanding. Though he was not the first to cross the Atlantic, Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight between two major cities. News spread quickly as Lindbergh's flight stunned and amazed people around the world.
  • Amelia Earhart set two of her many aviation records in this bright red Lockheed 5B Vega. In 1932 she flew it alone across the Atlantic Ocean, then flew it nonstop across the United States-both firsts for a woman. Amelia Earhart bought this 5B Vega in 1930 and called it her "Little Red Bus."
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The X-15 rocket-powered research aircraft bridged the gap between manned flight within the atmosphere and manned flight beyond the atmosphere into space. After completing its initial test flights in 1959, the X-15 became the first winged aircraft to attain velocities of Mach 4, 5, and 6 (four, five, and six times the speed of sound). Because of its high-speed capability, the X-15 had to be designed to withstand aerodynamic temperatures on the order of 1,200 degrees F.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • On October 14, 1947, the Bell X-1 became the first airplane to fly faster than the speed of sound. Piloted by U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, the X-1 reached a speed of 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) per hour, Mach 1.06, at an altitude of 43,000 feet.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.
  • The Air and Space Museum is a personal favorite, be sure to see the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, and a lunar rock you can touch.

The Air and Space Museum- 6th and Pennsylvania Ave, SW

Since its earliest days in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution has been deeply involved with tracking scientific breakthroughs and displaying cutting-edge technologies.

In 1899 Wilbur Wright sent a letter to the Smithsonian asking for help in researching powered manned flight because there were no other books available on the subject in their local library. Today his correspondence is in the Smithsonian – as well as the Wright Brothers original aircraft, their 1903 Flyer.

Upon his death in 1948, Orville Wright left to the Smithsonian Institution the original plane that he and Wilbur used at Kitty Hawk, NC, in December 1903. The plane that changed everything is considered a priceless national treasure. Many experts consider this aircraft to be the most valuable item in the entire Smithsonian Collection. Originally displayed hanging in mid-air at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building, the Wright Flyer is now on display on the ground in its own gallery at the Air and Space Museum so that visitors can view it more closely.

In 1946 after World War II President Truman approved a new Smithsonian, the National Air Museum. By the time it opened in 1976 it had a new name, The Air and Space Museum, to celebrate America’s arrival on the moon in 1969. An expansive second campus, the Udvar-Hazy Center was opened in 2003 near Dulles Airport about 30 miles away.

Today the Wright Flyer has been joined by moon rocks that visitors can touch as well as displays of vast numbers of rockets and space capsules like NASA’s Apollo Lunar Module and Skylab – along with famous early planes like Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and a replica of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. An even more in-depth collection of aircraft is located at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Open 364 days a year, The Air and Space Museum on the Mall is regularly listed in the top 5 most visited museums in the world. In 2018 the Smithsonian announced a 7-year rolling renovation of the Air and Space Mall campus. There are full closures of some galleries but The Air and Space Museum is expected to begin to reopen the renovated galleries by 2022.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
600 Independence Ave. S.W. Washington, D.C. 20560
202-633-2214
With the construction going on, the Independence Avenue entrance is closed. The entrance is only on Jefferson Drive inside the Mall.

National air and space museum tickets are free for both locations, there is a $15.00 charge to park at the Udvar-Hazy site at Dulles, and the quickest way there is on the Toll road that is about $6.00 each way. Be prepared on the toll road with exact change in coins, or an EZ-Pass.

The main attractions of the Museum are the Wright Brothers’ Wright Flyer Airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, flown by Charles Lindberg, the spacesuit of Neil Armstrong of the Apollo 11 moon landing, artifacts, and exhibits from the history of flight and aviation.

There are food concessions at all of the museums, some more extensive than others.  Best bet is the American Indian Museum which features Native and Southwestern American fare.  Adult beverages are available at some of the museums.  During seasonal weather, there are generally several food trucks of all sorts in the general area.

All museums feature gift shops, which are a great source for quality souvenirs and mementos.

There is an app that lists all of the Smithsonian museums, that we suggest you download. It’s loaded with information about the many exhibits in each building, where they are, and schedules of events taking place each day.

Highly recommend you check to see what time they offer free guided tours of the museum, they last about an hour, many of the guides are former pilots and tell great stories about the exhibits on display.
National air and space museum tickets are free for both locations, there is a $15.00 charge to park at the Udvar-Hazy site at Dulles, and the quickest way there is on the Toll road that is about $6.00 each way. Be prepared on the toll road with exact change in coins, or an EZ-Pass.

 

 

As you face the Museum on independence Ave., to your right the American Indian Museum, the Botanical Gardens, and the United States Capitol.  To your left, the Hirschhorn Museum, the Arts and Industry Building, and the Smithsonian Castle.  Directly behind you is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, and the Bible Museum.  All are within a 5-10-minute walk.