Information on:

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Independence Avenue at 6th Street, Southwest

Our Mission:

The National Air and Space Museum shall commemorate the national development of aviation and spaceflight, and will educate and inspire the nation.

The National Air Museum

In 1946, President Harry Truman signed a bill 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. The legislation didn't provide for the construction of a new building; however, and the collection soon outgrew the Museum's exhibition space. Since there was no room left in the Arts and Industries Building or the "Tin Shed," WWII aircraft and other items such as engines and missiles were stored at an abandoned aircraft factory in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The U.S. Navy had a similar collection in storage for the Smithsonian at Norfolk, Va.

In 1951 as a result of the Korean War emergency, the Museum had to vacate the Park Ridge premises. In response to the immediate need for space, Paul Garber, the National Air Museum's first curator, located 21 acres in Silver Hill, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. With the addition of several prefabricated buildings the site became the storage area for the National Air Museum. Garber had managed to save the collection. To honor his achievement, the location was named the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in 1980.


r1 seo

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Amazing experience! Whether you are an aviation enthusiast, or have little previous interest in aviation or space there are some incredible things here to open your eyes and cause you to look at the world in a different way. The space exhibit is particularly eye opening. The consideration and planning by scientists and engineers was incredible and most have little comprehension until seeing the exhibits here. Likewise the conditions and feats of various wartime pilots and innovations are beyond the thoughts of many until viewed here. Outstanding museum which really should be a must for everyone during their time in Washington DC.

Nicki S

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
This has always been my favorite of the Smithsonian museums. Granted, I am a huge fan of space travel especially, but I think it is a fun time for anyone. I have visited the air and space museum more than any of the other Smithsonian museums, but I always enjoy myself. I love the gift shop and that they have memorabilia from Star Trek and Star Wars there as a nod to the fiction that was created because of our nation's obsession with space-travel. There is a nice section for the kids as well as lots of interesting things for the adults. It's always nice to have a place where everyone can learn a little something.

Noah Durling

Tuesday, June 5, 2018
(If you think I am a grumpy person and write bad reviews for everything check out my other ones but this is my honest opinion and everyone who gives it a five stars is only saying that cause it's DC) The air and space museum is full of amazing sights and sounds. I mostly liked the “How Things Work” section of the museum because it’s so interactive but once you see everything it gets boring. Honestly, the things there are WAY to overpriced. I mean I understand that it's you know a big place that everyone goes to and most people are willing to pay for but it goes to the point of selling low-quality socks for fourteen freaking bucks and it was only one pair. I swear Gucci is cheaper. Overall it was fun but after you saw everything it was lame. Some of the facts they showed were confusing and didn’t make sense to me. And some were obvious, For Ex. “Airplanes fly in the air.” Don’t tell me that you weren’t thinking no duh. The air and space museum was full of amazing sights and some good facts but otherwise, I got bored because there were so many people and some were super annoying. I give this place a three but not because this place sucks but because it gets boring once you’ve seen everything.

Haidee Mac Carthy

Monday, June 4, 2018
Great place for an afternoon out. Well laid out, spacious. Interesting and educational. Great for kids. Staff very helpful and friendly. They have excellent facilities. Toilets are clean and spacious. They also have a Burger King. I was impressed by the quality and scale of the exhibits there.

Adam Nothem

Sunday, June 10, 2018
Great museum. And it's free! Not sure if you'll be bored? No worries, it doesn't cost a thing to pop in for a few minutes but you'll end up sticking around longer. Such cool exhibits where you can go in old planes, see space ships up close, and there's an Imax also! Very kid friendly but also gun for adults so families really dig it here. The national mall is right outside so you're close to other museums and historic sites as well. And food trucks are also nearby!

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media