Astronaut Barbie at the National Air & Space Museum

The upcoming release of the ‘Barbie’ movie directed by Greta Gerwig is prompting nostalgia for everything Barbie.

The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum is riding that wave, and celebrating Barbie’s long career as an astronaut.

1965 Astronaut Barbie

This Miss Astronaut outfit for Barbie was released in 1965 and included a silvery spacesuit with brown boots.

1985 Astronaut Barbie

This 1985 Astronaut Barbie has two outfits, including this pink miniskirt with silver leggings and knee-high pink boots.

1994 Astronaut Barbie

The 1994 Barbie (above) was issued to mark the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

The Air & Space Museum doesn’t have a complete set of space-themed Barbies (yet), but a recent museum blog entry notes that between 2000 and 2020, seven space-themed Barbie dolls were released including a 2013 Barbie that went to Mars in a white spacesuit with pink details.

(Courtesy Mattel)

Sally Ride, the first American woman, and the youngest American to fly in space, was honored with an Inspiring Women Series Barbie in 2019. (Nothing pink here…)

These Barbies Went to Space

 In 2022, these two Barbies had the honor of being the first Barbies to actually go to space.

They spent several months on the International Space Station but had to leave their accessories on the ground.

Those two Barbies are the newest addition to the Smithsonian’s collection and are currently on display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, along with the 1965 Miss Astronaut, the 1985 Astronaut Barbie, and the 1994 Moon Landing Barbie.

(All images courtesy Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, except as noted from Mattel)

Bessie Coleman honored with Barbie ‘Inspiring Women Series’ Doll

Mattel, maker of the iconic Barbie doll, has an Inspiring Women series that pays tribute to courageous women with Barbie dolls in their honor.

Chimpanzee expert Dr. Jane Goodall, tennis star Billie Jean King, author Maya Angelou, astronaut Sally Ride and First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald, are among the women who have been honored with dolls in this special Barbie series.

And now Bessie Coleman, the first Black and Native American female aviator, and the first Black person to earn an international pilot’s license, has a Barbie doll in her image as well.

The dolls is sculpted in Coleman’s likeness and wears a traditional olive-green aviator suit, with tall lace-up boots and a “BC”-initialed cap.

To celebrate Coleman’s birthday, on January 26, customers flying on American Airline’s Flight 771 from Dallas to New York received the new doll.

American Airlines also hosted a special program for aviation students at the Ronald E. McNair public school 5 in Brooklyn, New York.

The Bessie Coleman story is impressive and inspiring

Coleman was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, one of 13 children, and moved to Chicago in 1915.

She wanted to earn a pilot’s license, but flight schools in the United States wouldn’t accept her. So she applied to – and was accepted into – a flight school in France. There she she earned her license in June 15, 1921, in just seven months. She went on to take more training to learn the acrobatic stunts, such as walking on an aircraft’s wings, that she became known for.

On September 3, 1922, in Long Island, New York, Coleman made the first public flight by an African American woman in the United States. By 1925 she had become a popular barnstormer, performing acrobatic feats in air shows – and giving lectures – across the United States. Sadly, an aviation accident in 1926 took her life.

Courtesy Smithsonian Institution National Air & Space Museum

In addition to being honored this year with a Barbie Inspiring Women Series doll, Coleman also landed on the newest U.S. quarter. On January 3, 2023, the United States Mint released a quarter featuring pilot Bessie Coleman as a part of the American Women Quarters Program. Coleman’s quarter is marked with the date June 15, 2021, to honor the 100th anniversary of the date she became the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license.   

Toy exhibit at Philadelphia International Airport


A new exhibit at Philadelphia International Airport features Star Trek and Star War toys, Barbie dolls and other items from the collection of Ronald Toby, a Philadelphia resident with more than 800,000 toys, sports items and other treasures in his collection.

phl Barbie

Look for Philadelphia’s Toy Story post-security in Terminal D through April 2016.

Toy exhibit at Austin Airport

AUSTIN Simpsons

A great selection of 20th century dolls and toys, including cast metal figures, wind-ups, electric trains and action figures from the (yet to open) Austin Toy Museum are on display in the east and west food courts at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Austin Toys poster

There’s a Kewpie doll from 1925, a Lionel streamlined steam locomotive with tender from the 1940s and a set of dolls from the “The Simpsons” circa 1991.

Batman and Robin are here and so are G.I. Joe, Spock and Barbie.

Austin toy Spock

“20th Century Toys” is on display through August 4, 2015 in post-security pylon showcases on the concourse between Gates 7-11.

Austin Toy Batman

Austin Toy Barbie

Austin toy car

(All photos courtesy of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)

Souvenir Sunday at SFO

It’s Souvenir Sunday – when we take a a look at some of the souvenirs you can pick up when you’re stuck at the airport.

This week’s souvenirs come from San Francisco International Airport, where the Brookstone store has modern-day versions of Pan Am travel items;

Where several newsstands carry flight attendant-themed doll sets;

And where a new shop called Destination Green offers these cute pink (‘green’) cars that Barbie might covet.