Museum of Flight

An Orchestra Will Take Over This Aviation Museum

University of Stuttgart Academic Orchestra.

 We’re not sure how this will work. Or why it is happening. But we’re sure it will be great.

On September 21, from 3 pm to 5 pm, the University of Stuttgart Academic Orchestra will take over all five main galleries at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

The plan is for the Orchestra to divide into five separate chamber groups and station themselves in the aviation and space galleries on both the Museum’s East and West Campuses.

Each group plans to play selections by composers including Mendelssohn and Weber to celebrate aviation, space, history, and science.

Here’s the program:

Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Quintet for clarinet and strings in B-flat major, Op. 34.
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1947): String octet in E-flat major, Op. 20.
Joachim Raff (1822-1882): Sinfonietta for winds in F major, Op. 188.
Plus arrangements for brass ensemble.

The Museum performances are part of a North American tour by the Stuttgart, Germany-based orchestra, and are free with admission to the Museum of Flight.

Museum of Flight No Stranger to Music

Seattle Opera Dress Rehearsal at Museum of Flight

This isn’t the first time a music production has taken over the Museum of Flight.

During the pandemic, the Seattle Opera was scheduled to present a performance of “Flight.” The three-act opera was written in 1998 by composer Jonathan Dove and librettist April De Angelis and has been performed around the world.

Here’s the story of the opera:

An omniscient air traffic controller watches over a departure lounge bustling with relentlessly cheerful flight attendants, an excitable couple on vacation, a mysterious older woman, and a diplomat and his expectant wife, all of whom must spend the night to wait out a storm. At the heart of the show is the Refugee, a character inspired by Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lived in Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris for almost 18 years.”

The pandemic meant that Seattle Opera could not perform the show live. But rather than pass on the opportunity to present it, the Seattle Opera teamed up with Seattle’s Museum of Flight and filmed the opera there.

For National Book Lovers Day: our new book

Amelia Earhart Reading,” International Women’s Air & Space Museum,

August 9 was National Book Lovers Day and we celebrated by visiting some of the places in Seattle that are featured in our new book, 111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss, which begins shipping today.

The book is part of the international 111 Places series, which offers locals and experienced travelers guides to hidden treasures, overlooked gems, and charming curious places in great cities.

For the Seattle guide, I’m pointing readers to many airport and aviation-related items around town, including the art collections at both Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and King County International Airport – Boeing Field (BFI).

Richard Elliot’s ‘Eyes on the World’ at SEA
Brad Miller’s “30,000 Feet” Photo by Joe Freemans Courtesy 4Culture

The Museum of Flight is represented in the book, with the story of the Taylor Aerocar, an early flying car that worked.

Taylor Aerocar III, one wing folded back for ground travel, one wing attached for flight.

And we also point people to the tiny pocket park on the shores of Lake Union where they’ll find a plaque marking the spot where the first Boeing plane took off.

The plaque reads “From this site, Boeing launched it first airplane, the B&W, in 1916.”

Of course, there are plenty of other non-aviation sites in the book, including the Giant Shoe Museum, the world’s greenest commercial building, a haunted staircase, the Rubber Chicken Museum, a shop where you can buy personalized magic wands, the place where you can rent a rowboat for free, and lots more.

We hope you’ll get a copy of 111 Places in Seattle That You Must Not Miss from your favorite bookseller.

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.