Museum of Flight is a private non-profit air and space museum in
the northwest United States. It is located at the southern end of King
County International Airport (
Boeing Field), in the city of Tukwila,
just south of Seattle. It was established in 1965 and is fully
accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. As the largest private
air and space museum in the world, it also hosts the largest K-12
educational programs in the world.
The museum attracts over 500,000 visitors every year. The museum
serves more than 140,000 students yearly through both its onsite
programs: a Challenger Learning Center, an Aviation Learning Center,
and a summer camp (ACE), as well as outreach programs that travel
throughout Washington and Oregon.
Aircraft on display
3 Exhibits and facilities
3.1 Restoration facility
Museum of Flight Library and Archives
3.3 Other facilities
4 See also
6 External links
Museum of Flight can trace its roots back to the Pacific Northwest
Aviation Historical Foundation, which was founded in 1965 to recover
and restore a 1929
Boeing 80A-1, which had been discovered in
Anchorage, Alaska. The restoration took place over a 16-year period,
and after completion, was put on display as a centerpiece for the
museum. In 1968, the name "
Museum of Flight" first appeared in use in
a 10,000-square-foot facility, rented at the
Seattle Center. Planning
began at this time for a more permanent structure, and preliminary
concepts were drafted.
In 1975, The
William E. Boeing
William E. Boeing Red Barn was acquired for one dollar
from the Port of Seattle, which had taken possession of it after
Boeing abandoned it during World War II. The 1909 all-wooden Red Barn,
the original home of the company, was barged two miles (3 km) up
Duwamish River to its current location at the southwestern end of
Boeing Field. Fundraising was slow in the late 1970s, and
after restoration, the two-story Red Barn was opened to the public in
That year a funding campaign was launched, so capital could be raised
for construction of the
T.A. Wilson Great Gallery. In 1987, Vice
President George Bush, joined by four Mercury astronauts, cut the
ribbon to open the facility on July 10, with an expansive
volume of 3,000,000 cubic feet (85,000 m3). The gallery's
structure is built in a space frame lattice structure and holds more
than 20 hanging aircraft, including a
Douglas DC-3 weighing more than
The museum's education programs grew significantly with the building
Challenger Learning Center
Challenger Learning Center in 1992. This interactive exhibit
allows students to experience a
Space Shuttle mission. It includes a
mock-up NASA mission control, and experiments from all areas of space
Completed in 1994, the 132-seat Wings Cafe and the 250-seat Skyline
multipurpose banquet and meeting room increased the museum's footprint
to 185,000 square feet (17,200 m2). At the same time, one of the
museum's most widely recognized and popular artifacts, the Lockheed
M-21, a modified
Lockheed A-12 Oxcart designed to carry the Lockheed
D-21 reconnaissance drones, was placed on the floor at the center
of the Great Gallery, after being fully restored.
The first jet-powered
Air Force One
Air Force One (1959–62, SAM 970), a Boeing
VC-137B, was flown to
Boeing Field in 1996; it arrived in June and was
opened to visitors in October. Retired from active service
earlier that year, it is on loan from the Air Force Museum.
Originally parked on the east side of the museum, it was driven across
East Marginal Way and now resides in the museum's Airpark, where it is
open to public walkthroughs.
In 1997, the museum opened the first full scale, interactive Air
Traffic Control tower exhibit. The tower overlooks the
runways, home to one of the thirty busiest airports in the country.
The exhibit offers a glimpse into what it is like to be an air traffic
The next major expansion was opened in 2004, with the addition of the
J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing. North of the Red
Barn, the wing has 88,000 square feet (8,200 m2) of exhibit space
on two floors, with more than 25
World War I
World War I and World War II
aircraft. It also has large collection of model aircraft, including
every plane from both wars. Many of these aircraft were from the
collection of the Champlin Fighter Museum, formerly in Mesa,
Arizona, which closed in 2003. The wing opened on June 6, the
sixtieth anniversary of D-Day.
In June 2010, the museum broke ground on a $12 million new building to
Space Shuttle it hoped to receive from NASA, named the Charles
Simonyi Space Gallery. The new building includes multisensory
exhibits that emphasize stories from the visionaries, designers,
pilots, and crews of the
Space Shuttle and other space related
missions. The gallery opened to the public in November 2012.
Though the museum did not receive one of the three remaining shuttles,
it did receive the Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT), a shuttle mockup that
was used to train all
Space Shuttle astronauts. Because it is a
trainer and not an actual shuttle, small group (no more than six
persons, minimum age 10, maximum height 6' 4") guided tours of the
interior are available, for an extra charge. The FFT began arriving in
various pieces beginning in 2012. The cockpit and two sections of the
payload bay arrived via NASA's Super Guppy.
Aircraft on display
Museum of Flight has more than 150 aircraft in its collection,
The City of Everett at the
Museum prior to an extensive restoration in
Lockheed Model 10-E Electra
faithfully restored by pilot
Linda Finch to match the aircraft Amelia
Earhart was piloting when she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean
the first flight-worthy B747, City of Everett. Its registration
number is N7470, and it was named after the city of Everett,
Washington. Its first flight was on February 9, 1969, and was retired
Boeing VC-137B SAM 970
the first presidential jet, which served in the presidential fleet
from 1959 to 1996 (open for walkthrough)
(British Airways), registration G-BOAG (open for walkthrough).
This is one of only four Concordes on display outside Europe, with the
other three being near Washington, in New York, and in
the world's first fighter plane from World War I. The one on display
Museum of Flight was the only one ever built.
de Havilland Comet
The world's first jet airliner. First flew 1949, in production
1952 to 1964.
unmanned reconnaissance drone, displayed mounted on the M-21
the sole surviving M-21 a variant of the Lockheed A-12.
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The surviving cockpit section of 61-7977, an SR-71 that crashed in
the prototype B737.
Lockheed Martin RQ-3 DarkStar
the second DarkStar UAV prototype
Gossamer Albatross II at the
Museum of Flight
MacCready Gossamer Albatross II
Aerocar International's Aerocar
one of five surviving Aerocars, (automobiles with detachable wings and
LearAvia Lear Fan
one of only two remaining airworthy DC-2s.
the only surviving 80A, flown by Bob Reeve in Alaska.
Boeing 727-100 (E1)
United Airlines B727-100, The Original Prototype.
Lockheed L-1049G Super Constellation
Trans-Canada Air Lines
Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation, located originally
Toronto Pearson International Airport
Toronto Pearson International Airport which was purchased in a
controversial transaction in 2005. It is currently on display at the
Lamson L-106 Alcor
the world's first pressurized sailplane.
Exhibits and facilities
On its grounds is the Personal Courage Wing (PCW) with 28 World War I
World War II
World War II aircraft from several countries including Germany,
Russia, and Japan.
The Red Barn, Boeing's original manufacturing plant
There is also the "Red Barn", a registered historic site also known as
Building No. 105. Built in 1909, the building was used during the
early 1900s as Boeing's original manufacturing plant. Through
photographs, film, oral histories, and restoration of work stations
the exhibits in the Red Barn illustrate how wooden aircraft structure
with fabric overlays were manufactured in the early years of aviation
and provides a history of aviation development through 1958.
In June 2007 the
Museum opened a new space exhibit: "Space: Exploring
the New Frontier", which traces the evolution of space flight from the
times of Dr. Robert Goddard to the present and into future commercial
The museum maintains a restoration facility at
Paine Field in Everett
with about 39 ongoing projects including a de Havilland Comet 4 jet
airliner, a Jetstar, the
Boeing 2707 mockup, a General Motors FM-2
Wildcat, among many. A previous project, the only flyable
in existence, is based at the restoration center. A restored Boeing
B-17 Flying Fortress, the earliest flyable variant of the B-17 and
Boeing B-29 Superfortress in progress are currently hangared at
Boeing Field. The B-17 is displayed seasonally in the summer, on the
grass next to the
Boeing B-47 Stratojet, in front of the Museum's
Museum of Flight Library and Archives
The Harl V. Brackin Library at the
Museum of Flight was founded in
1985. As of 2011, it contains 66,000 books and subscribes to 100
periodicals. It specializes in aerospace and aviation. There is also
an online catalog.
Museum of Flight Archives is accessible to the public via the
Kenneth H. Dalhberg Aviation Research Center. It includes millions
of photographs and thousands of linear feet of manuscript materials.
Highlights of the collections include the Gordon S. Williams
photographic collection, the Peter M. Bowers Photographic Collection,
the David D. Hatfield Aviation History Collection, the Norm Taylor
Photographic Collection, the Elrey B. Jeppesen Aviation History and
Navigation Collection, the American Fighter Aces Association Archives,
the Lear Corporation Archives, and the Wright Airplane Company
Concorde in the foreground and Raisbeck Aviation High
School in the background, 2014.
In September, 2013
Raisbeck Aviation High School
Raisbeck Aviation High School (formerly Aviation
High School) opened in a new facility directly north of the Museum's
Airpark. The school is operated by
Highline Public Schools
Highline Public Schools as a STEM
school with a focus on aviation. The school operates in partnership
Museum (which owns the land), Boeing, and other members of
the local aviation industry. The facility will also be used for the
museum's summer education programs when school is not in session.
The new Aviation Pavilion spans the gap between the high school and
the Space Gallery. The cover will also allow aircraft which are
seasonally brought out, such as the Museum's
Boeing B-17 Flying
Boeing B-29 Superfortress, to be put permanently on
display. The Pavilion, constructed as part of the Museum's Inspiration
Begins Here! comprehensive campaign, opened to the public in June 2016
and contains 18 of the Museum's most iconic aircraft. The 140,000
square foot building doubles the Museum's exhibit space, and was built
with help from Sellen Construction and Seneca Real Estate Development.
List of aerospace museums
^ "Matt Hayes will succeed
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Flight, July 12, 2017
^ "Twitter." "Twitter," Retrieved: October 13, 2016.
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^ a b c Szabo, Liz (June 21, 1996). "Original
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^ a b Lalwani, Sheila (June 19, 2002). "
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Museum highlights personal courage in new fighter wing".
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^ a b Tu, Janet L. (June 1, 2004). "
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^ "General History Fact Sheet." The
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^ Williams, Lauren C. (June 29, 2010). "Seattle's
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breaks ground in its big bid for a space shuttle".
Retrieved September 25, 2014.
^ "Photo Gallery: How to display a retired space shuttle." Collect
Space. Retrieved: February 4, 2011.
^ a b Broom, Jack (Nov 7, 2012). "
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^ Brown, Jack (June 30, 2012). "Super Guppy, with space-shuttle
trainer on board, touches down at
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^ "First 747 called "City of Everett"". Spokane Daily Chronicle.
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^ Lawless, Jill (November 5, 2003). "
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Boeing 727, now restored, takes final flight by: Siemny Kim
Updated: Mar 2, 2016; KIRO-TV
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^ Baugher, Joe. "1942 USAAF Serial Numbers (42-001 to 42-30031)."
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