Aviation Museums

Get you free museum tickets

Between shutdowns, staff layoffs, and budget cuts, the pandemic has been tough on museums and cultural attractions across the United States.

But that won’t stop more than 1000 museums, zoos, and cultural centers from opening their doors for free on Saturday, September 18 as part of Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day 2021.

Each participating museum will offer free admission to guests who present a museum day ticket downloaded from the Museum Day site. Visitors may request one ticket per email and each ticket provides general admission to the ticket holder and one guest.

In addition to offering savings on admission fees, which can be quite hefty, Museum Day gives guests a chance to revisit a favorite museum or explore a new one.

The event, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19, celebrates the reopening of museums and the return of arts and cultural experiences with this year’s theme of Experience America.

You can search by city, zip code, or state for a museum near you. Here are a few examples of museums you might want to visit with your free Museum Day ticket – or any day.

Flight Path Museum & Learning Center at LAX

The Flight Path Museum and Learning Center is a great aviation and aerospace museum at Los Angeles International Airport.

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

Gold Coast Railroad Museum: Miami, FL

The museum houses more than 40 historic rail cars including the Presidential Rail Car ‘Ferdinand Magellan,’ and Florida East Coast Steam Locomotive #153. 

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, NY

The legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid is a National Historic Landmark. See 28 aircraft, the space shuttle Enterprise, and enter Growler, the only guided missile submarine open to the public.

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA

The Museum of Flight is the world’s largest independent air and space museum. It displays over 160 airplanes and spacecraft on a 23-acre campus. The museum’s six buildings include the original Boeing Aircraft factory.

Museum Monday: Aerospace Medicine at Seattle’s Museum of Flight

Smithsonian magazine’s Museum Day returns on September 18, 2021 and on that day more than 1000 museums, science centers, and gardens around the country will be offering free admission to anyone who shows up with a downloaded Museum Day ticket.

Seattle’s Museum of Flight (where regular admission is usually $25) is on the list this year and we’ve already downloaded our ticket so we can go see the museum’s newest exhibit called Stranger Than Fiction – the Incredible Science of Aerospace Medicine.

The exhibit includes dozen of artifacts, including medical kits, airsickness bags, flight suits, and spacesuits. and tells the story of aviation and space adventurers, doctors, and researchers who make it possible for people to fly through the air and off into space.

Below are some of the retro comic book-style images the Museum of Flight is using to help make the exhibit accessible to all. And here is the official Stranger Than Fiction soundtrack, created by artist Leeni Ramadan.

(All photos courtesy Museum of Flight)

Museums are opening across the country

Are you ready to visit a museum? If so, it’s a good bet you’ll find a museum near you that’s open, or getting to ready to open its doors to the (masked ) public again soon.

Here are some of the museums we’ve got on our list.

Seattle’s Museum of Flight

It was cute when animals from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo got to visit the Museum of Flight. But we were still jealous. Now we’re happy people can visit the museum too.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry. The museum’s collection can be viewed online. In the artifact section, we found this talking GI Joe Astronaut from 1970.
“When his dog tag is pulled, GI Joe narrates his way through a lunar mission, from liftoff to Moon landing to splashdown.”

Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum 

The Mütter Museum is a medical museum with far-ranging collections of anatomical specimens, models, and medical instruments. Einstein’s brain is here. And so is a specimen from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra.

We’ve spent a lot of time with Memento Mütter, the museum’s online exhibit of more than 60 items from the Museum’s collection, about half of which are not on public display.  If you check it out, be warned that the paper mache eyeball is one of the least alarming objects you’ll see.

Now that the museum has reopened, there’s a new exhibit of photographs by Nikki Johnson, who got to go behind-the-scenes at the museum and create still-life photos of items that intrigued her.

Fashioning Art from Paper at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum

A new exhibit at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY features life-size costumes that look like fabric but are actually made from paper. Beginning in 1994, Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave started creating these incredible paper works. She ended up with four collections ranging from the fashion of Elizabeth I to 20th century Venice and tributes to famous artists like Picasso and Matisse. All four collections are part of this exhibit.

The museum made a video of the ‘unboxing’ of some of the dresses in the exhibit.

Museum Monday: aerospace museum finds

With the help of Twitter-buddy Isaac Alexander, I spent a good chunk of this Labor Day weekend putting together a list of aerospace museums to keep track of and, perhaps, to feature on Museum Mondays here at StuckatTheAirport.com.

The process took quite a bit longer than it might have because I kept clicking on links at these museum websites and, well, you know how that goes… a half hour later I’d get back to the task at hand.

So for Museum Monday this week, I’ll just share a few of the links that caught my eye.

First up: The Stafford Museum, in Weatherford, Oklahoma.

Named in honor of four-time astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, a post on this museum’s site sent me to a Gizmodo posting of a half-dozen awe-inspiring time lapse videos from space.

Here’s one:

And I can’t even remember now which museum site sent me to this video about jobs in aviation – circa 1947 – but I had to stop and watch the entire thing.

Have you visited a great aviation or space-related museum lately? Share your favorite here and it may be featured on a future edition of Museum Monday.

Museum Monday: 1928 biplane inside Ottawa International Airport

There are close to 700 aviation and space museums in the country. Each Monday, we explore one of them.

De Havilland Tiger Moth from Vintage Wings Canada

De Havilland Tiger Moth from Vintage Wings Canada

This week we have the story of a fun partnership between Canada’s Ottawa International Airport (YOW) and Vintage Wings of Canada, a local organization that acquires, restores, maintains and flies classic and significant aircraft, with an emphasis on Canadian airplanes.

You can see photos of the all of the museum’s aircraft on its website. To see the planes in person, though, you’ll have to be part of a scheduled group tour or show up at one of the organization’s special summer events.

But as this article (with video) in the Ottawa Sun describes, for a while at least, air passengers will be able to see one of the museum’s treasures in the baggage claim area at Ottawa International Airport.

Last week museum volunteers flew a 1928 WACO Taperwing biplane to the Ottawa Airport, disassembled the plane enough to get it into the terminal, and then put the plane back together in the baggage claim area.

WACO Taperwing 1928 from Vintage Wings Canada

The biplane plane was recently featured in the film, “Amelia,” starring Hilary Swank and is scheduled to be at the YOW airport until mid-September. Volunteers from Vintage Wings will be on-site to tell passengers about the history of the airplane.

1928 WACO Taperwing inside Ottowa Airport

Volunteers reassemble the 1928 WACO Taperwing inside YOW airport

Do you have a favorite aviation museum you’d like others to know about?

Leave a comment here and we’ll try to add the nominated sites to the Museum Monday schedule.