I’ve been getting a lot of guff from aviation museum fans upset that I didn’t include their favorite museum in my recent msnbc.com column – Aviation and space museums that soar.
I was asking for it. There are close to 600 aviation and space museums in the country. And with room in the column for just six “top” places, I was sure to disappoint many readers. But now that I’ve read the comments and learned about the cool stuff at so many other aviation-related museums, I’ve decided to add Museum Monday to the line-up here at StuckatTheAirport.com.
Bradley is the airport where about 300 Virgin Atlantic passengers recently spent more than four hours stuck on an airplane when their Newark-bound flight was diverted and I’m sure they would have been much happier if they’d been hanging around this museum instead.
The New England Air Museum is the largest aviation museum in New England and has more than 125 aircraft and a huge collection of engines, instruments, aircraft parts, uniforms and personal memorabilia.
A few highlights in the collection include:
The last remaining four-engine American flying boat, the Sikorsky VS-44A, which was donated to the museum by actress Maureen O’Hara and restored to its original condition;
A B-29 Bomber;
The Bunce-Curtiss Pusher (1912), the oldest surviving Connecticut-built airplane;
And a Kaman K-225 helicopter, the oldest surviving Kaman-built aircraft.
In addition to the artifacts and aircraft on display, the museum has Open Cockpit days, a flight simulator, special events and theme weeks throughout the summer. For example, the week of July 5th is Discover Blimps and Balloons Week.
There’s also a speaker program: this past weekend Sergei N. Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev (Prime Minister of the Soviet Union from 1957-1964) gave a lecture about the Cuban Missile Crisis, as viewed from the Kremlin.
Have a favorite aviation or space museum you’d like to see featured on Museum Monday?
Please nominate it in the comments section below. If you have photos to share, all the better!
(New England Air Museum aircraft photos used in this post courtesy Cliff1066 via Flickr Creative Commons. He’s got dozens of other great photos from the museum on his Photostream as well. )