Aviation Museums in the United States
For those interested in vintage planes of the past, there are indeed lots of military DVDs, photographs, and commercial aviation books. But we find that the best way to understand aviation history is to see it up close and personal ... to see the planes, touch them, and sense their size and purpose.
Located across the United States are a number of aviation museums and airparks which provide excellent historical aviation and warbird overviews.
We are currently offering personal reviews and highlights of several renown air museums which we have visited and highly recommend. Our reviews include the history of the museum, highlights of exhibits and planes on display, tips on visiting, and photographs.
National Museum of the United States Air Force
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
It is the largest and oldest military aviation museum in the world, with over 360 vintage airplanes and missiles in its collection.
We highly recommend a visit for aviation enthusiasts, and anyone with an interest in, and appreciation for, the efforts and service of the fine men and women of the United States Air Force!
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Interior view of the Cold War Gallery at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
National Air & Space Museum
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C. features thousands of objects on display, including the 1903 Wright Flyer and Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit.
It houses a significant collection of aviation and space artifacts, encompassing all aspects of human flight, as well as related works of art and archival materials.
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Pima Air and Space Museum
Pima Air & Space Museum, located at 6000 E. Valencia Road in Tucson across from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, is one of the largest such facilities in the world.
Opened in 1976 with 35 classic airplanes, it has evolved into the largest non-government-funded air museum in the United States.
Its vast collection includes more than 300 historic planes and spacecraft, housed in both interior hangars and exterior spaces, and spread over 80 acres.
You can tour yourself, on your own pace. Or you can join docent-led tours, either on walking tours or tram tours.
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Interior view of Hangar 3 at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian
The Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum opened at Dulles Airport in December of 2003, providing additional space for the Smithsonian Institution to display thousands of vintage aviation and space artifacts that could not be exhibited at its facility on the National Mall.
A centerpiece is the Boeing Aviation Hangar which permits visitors to see planes and exhibits from three different levels.
Visitors can walk among antique aircraft on the bottom floor, and view classic airplanes hanging from the arched ceiling on elevated skywalks. Among its holding is B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay".
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Boeing Aviation Hangar at Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Center at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.(Staff Photo)
Castle Air Museum
Castle Air Museum in California
A group of dedicated enthusiasts in the Atwater-Merced area formed the Castle Air Museum Foundation, Inc. which is now a non-profit organization. Its purpose is to build a facility in which faithfully restored historic airplanes could be exhibited for public enjoyment.
It opened in 1981, on a site adjacent to the former Castle Air Force Base. Most of the workers there are volunteers, and the small admission charge helps defray restoration and maintenance projects on the vintage airplanes.
The U.S. Air Force does not provide any funds for maintenance and repair. Today, the facility displays 54 restored World War II, Korean War, and Cold War era planes, including one of only four surviving B-36 Peacemakers.
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Hill Aerospace Museum in Ogden, Utah
Hill Aerospace Museum is located on approximately 30 acres on the northwest corner of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, about five miles south of Ogden. It was founded in 1981 as a part of the United States Air Force Heritage Program and first opened in 1986. It moved to its current facility in 1991.
This fine facility exhibits more than 90 vintage military planes, missiles, and aerospace vehicles on the grounds and two major indoor galleries: the Major General Rex A. Hadley Gallery and the Lindquist Stewart Fighter Gallery.
The list of classic airplanes on display is extensive, and includes the B-29 Superfortress "Hagarty's Hag", a B-24 Liberator, B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25 Mitchell, F-100 Super Sabre, B-47 Stratojet, B-52 Stratofortress, SR-71, P-38, A-10, F-105 and many more.
A gate pass onto Hill AFB is NOT required to visit the facility.
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Hill Aerospace Museum, at the gate of Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah
Museum of Aviation in Warner-Robins, Georgia
The Museum of Aviation is located at Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins, Georgia. It is situated on 51 acres adjacent to the base, and is the second largest facility in the U.S. Air Force museum system. Robins AFB is located in middle Georgia, 100 miles south of Atlanta and 16 miles south of Macon.
It is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and is one of only seven in the United States to earn such a professional distinction.
The list of old aircraft and vintage warbirds on display is impressive, and includes the B-29 Superfortress, B-25 Mitchell, B-52 Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer, SR-71 Blackbird, P-51 Mustang, A-10 Thunderbolt, F-105 and many more.
A gate pass onto Robins AFB is NOT required to visit.
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Museum of Aviation, near Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins, Georgia
Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington
Museum of Flight
The Museum of Flight is located in the Seattle, Washington area, at King County International Airport, also known as Boeing Field.
Established in 1965, it is the largest private air and space facility in the world. It also hosts the largest K-12 educational programs in the world.
It is a huge, beautiful facility, and spans several buildings and many acres. A vast array of historical airplanes and space artifacts are displayed.
Included is the B-29 Superfortress "T-Square 54", a B-47 Stratojet, B-17 Flying Fortress, the original Boeing 747, the first 727, VC-137B Air Force One, Concorde SST, Soyuz Space Capsule, DC-3 ... and the list goes on and on!
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South Dakota Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth AFB
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum is located just outside the gate of Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City and is a major national repository of historic Air Force airplanes. It is free and open to the public.
It features a series of indoor exhibits and displays, and an outdoor airpark of more than twenty restored, historic aircraft and related equipment. The collection includes several famous airplanes such as the B-52 Stratofortress, B-25 Mitchell III, F-86 Sabre, F-84F Thunderstreak, EC-135, F-101 Voodoo, F-105 Thunderchief and many others.
Among the many fine aircraft on display are the B-29 Superfortress "Legal Eagle II". The aircraft has been recently experted repainted, as S/N 484112. It is among the finest B-29 restorations that we have seen across the country.
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South Dakota Air & Space Museum, at the gate of Ellsworth AFB, with its USAF B-1B Lancer
Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum
The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum is located just off Interstate I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, near the town of Ashland.
The SAC Aerospace Museum is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The museum does not receive direct government funding and relies on the generosity of civic minded individuals and corporations to support its programs.
The museum features over 300,000 square feet of exhibit, education, and event space to educate, inspire, and entertain its guests who come from across the country, and around the world. The museum moved to its current location in Ashland in 1998 upon completion of an impressive new indoor facility.
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Exterior view of the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, Ashland, Nebraska
New England Air Museum
The New England Air Museum is located in Windsor Locks, CT at the Bradley International Airport and is a major national repository of historic Air Force and commercial airplanes.
This fine facility features a series of indoorand outdoor exhibits and displays, and an impressive inventory of over 80 restored, historic aircraft plus related equipment, engine displays, instrument, military uniforms, simulators, and demonstrations as well as hosting special events.
The museum also houses the 58th Bomb Wing Memorial.
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B-29A Superfortress "Jack's Hack" at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT
Global Power Museum
The Global Power Museum is located at Barksdale Air Force Base and is a major national repository of historic Air Force airplanes. It is free and open to the public, accessible via the Barksdale AFB north gate. It was formerly known as the 8th Air Force Museum until 2012.
The facility features a series of indoor exhibits and displays, and an outdoor airpark of restored, historic aircraft and related equipment. The airpark also includes numerous sculptures and monuments to various individuals and groups of the Eighth Air Force.
It is one of nearly twenty official field units of the Museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.
The Barksdale Global Power Association operates independently of Barksdale AFB and supports the facility thru a variety of projects, events and services. A pass onto Barksdale AFB is required to visit the museum.
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Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" at the Global Power Museum
Air Force Armament Museum
The Air Force Armament Museum is located at Eglin Air Force Base and is a major national repository of historic Air Force planes. It is free and open to the public, and near the Fort Walton Beach and Destin area in the Florida Panhandle. No pass is required to visit the museum.
The facility features a series of indoor exhibits and displays, and an outdoor airpark of 25 restored, historic airplanes, rockets, missiles, and related equipment.
It was conceived 1974, and in 1976 an old Enlisted Club facility became available and the Armament Museum opened.
By mid-1985, $1.2 million in private and corporate donations had been raised and construction of a new permanent 28,000 square foot building was underway. The new facility was deeded to the United States Air Force and opened to the public in 1985.
It is one of nearly twenty official field units of the Museum of the United States Air Force.
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View inside the Air Force Armanent Museum at Eglin AFB near Fort Walton, Florida
March Field Air Museum
The March Field Air Museum is located near Riverside, California, at the site of the former March Air Force Base (now the March Air Reserve Base).
The museum includes an impressive collection of over 70 historic aircraft, displayed both inside hangars and outside galleries. In addition, the musuem features numerous exhibits, over 30,000 aviation artifacts, photographs, poster collections, and a Library Education Center.
A gift shop is also located on site. Parking is free, and small admission cost is charged.
We have personally toured this fine facility, and enjoyed meeting the friendly, knowledgable staff and volunteers. We highly recommend a visit to the March Field Air Museum.
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F-84 Thunderjet on display at the March Field Air Museum
Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum in Colorado
Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum
The Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum is located six miles east of Pueblo, Colorado on U.S. Highway 50 at Pueblo Memorial Airport.
The airport is located on the site of historic World War II Pueblo Army Air Base constructed in 1941. The base conducted advanced training for crews of the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator and the B-29 Superfortress.
The time-consuming restoration of vintage warbirds is all done by volunteers. Their work is seen in the incredible restorations of many of the planes on display, such as the F-100 Super Sabre, B-29, C-131A, F-86D, F-84 Thunderjet, F-104 Starfighter, T-37 Tweet and others. More airplanes are scheduled for future restoration, such as the B-47 Stratojet outside.
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National Navy Aviation Museum
The National Navy Aviation Museum is located at Naval Air Station Pensacola in the panhandle of Florida.
At the core of the Museum’s collections are more than 700 aircraft — most of which are on display at other museums, with approximately 150 located at the Naval Air Station Pensacola museum.
The Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum and one of the most-visited museums in the state of Florida. The museum documents Naval Aviation’s rich history and features a fleet of beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation.
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Exterior view of the National Navy Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida