Aviation Museums

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.

Museum Monday: Museum of Flight, Seattle

It’s Museum Monday here at StuckatTheAirport.com, so time to take a look at one of the 694 aviation museums around the country.

This week: a quick look at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, which has just kicked off a new exhibit about women in the aerospace industry: Chasing Horizons: Women in Aerospace.

Associated Women Pilots of Boeing Field (1933-1946). Museum of Flight collection.

The exhibit starts off with pioneer French aeronaut Élisabeth Thible, who became the first woman to fly in a balloon in 1784, and continues through aviation’s Golden Age of the 1920s and 1930s, World War II, and to today’s fighter pilots, aerobatic pilots, engineers, and astronauts.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to see here. The Museum of Flight is home to a vast collection of more than 150 rare aircraft and space vehicles.

There’s a control tower overlooking the very active Boeing Field and, in the Personal Courage wing, a display of 28 fighter aircraft.  The major attraction, though, is the six-story Great Gallery where there are more than 20 full-size aircraft on display, including this Lockheed M-21 Blackbird.

Lockheed Blackbird at Museum of Flight

See that little red dot to the left of the Blackbird? That’s my favorite museum artifact – an early flying car known as the Taylor Aerocar III:

The museum also has a Concorde on loan from British Airways and the first presidential jet plane, a specially built Boeing 707-120, which had this ‘high-tech’ conference area.

First Air Force One Presidential plane

Seattle’s Museum of Flight is located just south of Seattle and not far from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. So it’s a good option for an activity during a long layover. See the Museum of Flight website for more information about exhibits, special events, hours and admission.

And let us know if you have a favorite aviation museum you’d like us to feature.

Museum Monday: Gallery of Flight at Milwaukee General Mitchell Int’l Airport

If you like flying, chances are you like airplanes. And if you like airplanes, chances are you like visiting aviation museums once in a while.

Lucky for you there are more than 600 aviation and space-related museums around the country.   Each Monday, StuckatTheAirport.com visits one of them.

This week, it’s the Mitchell Gallery of Flight inside Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport.

Hamiltion Metalplan at aviation museum inside Milwaukee Mitchell Int'l Airport

(Hamilton Metalplane display, courtesy Mitchell Gallery of Flight)

Like the airport, the museum is named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, who is regarded as the Father of the U.S. Air Force.

Mitchell is profiled in the People section of the museum, along with Wisconsin-born fighter ace Dick Bong and other aviators with Wisconsin links, including Charles Lindbergh, who visited the Milwaukee airport in 1927.  Two exhibit cases display artifacts and photos about Captain James Lovell, who is best known for his four Gemini and Apollo spaceflights.

James Lovell exhibit at MKE Gallery of Flight museum

In the Aircraft & Airships section of the museum, you’ll see antique propellers, aviation-related artifacts and loads of models, including a 22-foot, 1/36th scale model of the Graf Zeppelin II (a sister to the Hindenberg) and models of military jets, WWII aircraft and airplanes of all eras.

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport Gallery of Flight exhibit

(Photo by Prateek Bahadur, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Best of all, the museum is located pre-security at Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport and admission is free.

For information about hours and exhibits, see the Mitchell Gallery of Flight website.

aircraft models displayed at Gallery of Flight Museum in General Mitchell International Airport Milwaukee

(Photo by Prateek Bahadur, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Do you have a favorite aviation/space museum? Please feel free to nominate it for a future edition of Museum Monday.