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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!

Read more at National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Interior view of the Cold War Gallery at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio
Interior view of the Cold War Gallery at the Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio

 

National Air & Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum
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.

Read more at National Air and Space Museum


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.

Read more at Pima Air & Space Museum

Interior view of Hangar 3 at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
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".

Read more at Udvar-Hazy Center

Boeing Aviation Hangar at Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Center at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.(Staff Photo)
Boeing Aviation Hangar at Udvar-Hazy Smithsonian Center at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.

 

Castle Air Museum

B-36 Peacemaker at the Castle Air Museum in California
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.

Read more at Castle Air Museum

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.

Read more at Hill Aerospace Museum

Hill Aerospace Museum, at the gate of Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah
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.

Read more at Museum of Aviation

Museum of Aviation, near Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins, Georgia
Museum of Aviation, near Robins Air Force Base in Warner-Robins, Georgia

 


Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington

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.

Read more at South Dakota Air and Space Museum

South Dakota Air & Space Museum, at the gate of Ellsworth AFB, with its USAF B-1B Lancer
B-1B Lancer, S/N 83-0067, of the U.S. Air Force, at the gate of Ellsworth AFB

 

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
Exterior view of the Strategic Air Command and Space Museum

 

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
B-29A Superfortress "Jack's Hack" S/N 44-61975 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
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress "Miss Liberty" S/N 44-83884 painted as 231340 at the Barksdale 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.

Read more at Air Force Armament Museum

View inside the Air Force Armanent Museum at Eglin AFB near Fort Walton, Florida
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, knowledgeable 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
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.

Read more at Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum

 

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.

Read more at National Navy Aviation Museum

Exterior view of the National Navy Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida
Exterior view of the National Navy Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida

 


Reviews and Photo Galleries of U.S. Air Museums

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force - Dayton, Ohio

National Navy Aviation Museum - NAS Pensacola, Florida

National Air and Space Museum - Washington, D.C.

Castle Air Museum - Atwater, California

PIMA Air & Space Museum - Tucson, Arizona

Udvar-Hazy Center - Washington D.C.

Hill Aerospace Museum - Ogden, Utah

Museum of Flight - Seattle, Washington

New England Air Museum - Windsor Locks, CT

South Dakota Air and Space Museum - Rapid City, South Dakota, at Ellsworth AFB

Museum of Aviation - Robins AFB, Warner Robins, Georgia

Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum - Ashland, Nebraska

Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum - Pueblo, Colorado

Combat Air Museum - Topeka, Kansas

Tillamook Air Museum - Tillamook, Oregon

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Barksdale Global Power Museum, Barksdale AFB - Bossier City, Louisiana

Air Force Armament Museum, Eglin AFB - Florida

Historic Aviation Memorial Museum - Tyler, Texas

Kansas Aviation Museum - Wichita, Kansas

March Field Air Museum - Riverside, California

U.S. Air Parks, Displays and Exhibits

Whidbey Island NAS Aircraft Display - Washington

Charles B. Hall Airpark at Tinker Air Force Base - Oklahoma City

Aviators Memorial Park - Grand Junction, Colorado

Luke Air Force Base Air Park - Phoenix, Arizona

Edwards Air Force Base North Gate - California

Cannon Air Force Base Air Park - New Mexico

Wright Brothers National Memorial - North Carolina

Flight Works Alabama

Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour - Seattle, Washington

Air Force Bases and Airports

England AFB

Tinker Air Force Base

Grand Junction Regional Airport, Grand Junction, Colorado

Whidbey Island NAS, Washington

Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, Arizona

Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico

Other Museum Features

Aviation Museums, Exhibits and Airparks

List of U.S. Air Force Museums

List of U.S. Navy Museums

Arizona Aviation Museums, Air Bases, Aviation Attractions

Reviews of Aviation Museums and Exhibits