Last updated: 8/25/2012
Independence Ave at 4th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Open every day except December 25. March 17 - September 3
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The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.
The Museum has two display facilities. The National Mall building in Washington, D.C. has hundreds of artifacts on display including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command module, and a lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays many more artifacts including the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and Space Shuttle Discovery.
The Museum currently conducts restoration of its collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, MD. For years, this facility also displayed many of the Museum's artifacts kept in storage. Only guided tours allowed access to this portion of the collection. The new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays most of the aircraft and spacecraft previously stored at Garber, many never seen before in a museum setting. The Center will also eventually become the Museum's primary artifact restoration facility.
The National Air and Space Museum holds in trust some 50,000 objects, including aircraft, spacecraft, engines, rockets, uniforms, spacesuits, balloons and artwork. A wide variety of these artifacts are on display at the National Mall building and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
The Department of Collections and Research at the National Air and Space Museum consists of five research and curatorial divisions. Each division participates in the collection of artifacts, research related to the collections, and preparation of museum exhibitions. The Archives Division is responsible for the Museum's document and photographic collections. The Collections Division is concerned with artifact management, restoration, and preservation. The Aeronautics and Space History Divisions conduct historical research related to aviation and space history, and the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies utilizes the results of solar system exploration data in scientific studies of the Earth and other planets.
The National Air and Space Museum offers a variety of free educational programs for school groups and organized youth groups. Here you will find information on educational activities at the Museum as well as resources provided for classroom learning.
Open to outside researchers and the public by appointment
Please call for an appointment as far in advance of your planned visit as possible since space is limited and the reading room may be temporarily closed to accommodate Museum functions. When you arrive at the National Air and Space Museum, please report to the Security Desk adjacent to the Independence Avenue entrance and have them call the Library. We will send down a staff member to escort you to the Library. You will be issued a temporary visitor’s badge at this time.
Research on most topics can be completed in the main National Air and Space Museum Library Reading Room. Because the collections of the National Air and Space Museum Library and the National Air and Space Museum Archives are co-located in the National Air and Space Museum, researchers working here may also make use of the collections of the National Air and Space Museum Library Archives. A reference archivist is on duty in the reading room.
Appointment required: Yes
Parking: No Museum parking. Public lots located nearby, fees vary.
Your contributions - large or small - go a long way in helping the National Air and Space Museum achieve its mission to commemorate, educate, and inspire. Whether you join The National Air and Space Society, include us in your estate planning, place a name on our Wall of Honor, or volunteer your time to enhance the experience of other visitors, we are truly grateful.
Membership in the National Air and Space Society directly supports the mission and programs of the National Air and Space Museum. Your generosity provides for the important preservation and restoration work necessary to save rare and significant air and space artifacts and the programs that educate and spark the imaginations of millions of children every year. During this second century of flight, you can do your part to help inspire our next generation to enter the boundless frontiers of air and space.
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