There are close to 700 aviation and space museums around the country.
Each Monday here at StuckatTheAirport.com, we feature one of them.
This week: The National Museum of the US Air Force.
This museum has a lot of fans and I took a lot of heat for leaving it out of a recent msnbc.com column – Aviation Museums that Soar – that only had room to mention six aviation and space museums around the country.
So here we go:
With 17 acres of indoor exhibition space and more than 400 aerospace vehicles in its collection, the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, OH, is the largest military aviation museum in the world.
In addition to an IMAX theater, and more than a half dozen huge galleries filled with one-of-a-kind aircraft and aerospace vehicles, the museum has personal artifacts, photographs, documents and exhibits that help tell the Air Force story.
If you plan to visit, you might have to pick just a few galleries to see. And choosing won’t be easy.
In the Early Years Gallery, the aircraft, exhibits and artifacts start with the Wright brothers and continue through World War I and the beginning of World War II.
In the 140-foot tall, silo-like Missile and Space Gallery you’ll find a collection of missiles that can be viewed from the ground level or from a platform that runs around the inside of the gallery. There’s also the Apollo 15 Command Module, Mercury and Gemini capsules, rocket engines, satellites and balloon gondolas.
And in the Presidential Gallery, for which there are special entry requirements, you’ll see the airplane that served as Air Force One the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as well as airplanes used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
There’s more – lots more – so before you visit be sure to poke around the National Museum of the US Air Force Museum website.
The USAF Museum is open daily. Admission is free.
A great time to visit might be during Labor Day weekend (Sept 3-5, 2010) when the museum hosts the Giant Scale Radio-Controlled Model Aircraft Air Show with model jets, helicopters and warbirds doing acrobatics in the sky.
Do you have a favorite aviation or space museum? If so, leave a comment below and we may feature your suggestion in a future Museum Monday on StuckatTheAirport.com.