During America’s bicentennial year, as a gift to the nation, the National Air and Space Museum opened its expansive doors to the public. Since 1976, more than 320 million visitors have walked its floors and exhibition spaces to learn more about aviation and space flight.
On July 1, the museum will commemorate its 40th anniversary with an evening ceremony—and an all-night celebration, a museum first, beginning at 8:30 p.m. through Saturday, July 2 at 10:00 a.m. There will be special guests throughout the evening and ongoing activities that include all-night aviation- and space-related films, music, tours and more. Admission is free (unless noted).
The opening ceremony will also represent the opening of the newly renovated Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. The central exhibition space that greets visitors entering the museum has remained pretty much unchanged since it opened July 1, 1976. Thanks to a Boeing donation, the new hall is designed to change the way the museum tells the stories of how aviation and space flight have transformed our lives.
Among the changes to the hall, familiar displays like the “Spirit of St. Louis” will stay, while others will move on. New additions will include the Apollo Lunar Module and Star Trek starship Enterprise studio model. Multiple, interconnected stories will tie the collections together and trace the social, political, cultural, technical and human aspects of how aviation and space flight have changed the world. A new open floor plan and Welcome Center will make visiting the hall easier, with a new media wall to help visitors explore this amazing collection. And a new mobile experience is intended to help personalize the museum experience, allowing visitors to engage with experts and explore connections between the objects on display and the stories they tell.
Learn more at airandspace.si.edu.