World's Top 15 Best and Greatest Aviation Museums
An AVIATION MUSEUM, air museum, or aerospace museum is a museum exhibiting the history and artifacts of aviation. In addition to actual or replica aircraft, exhibits can include photographs, maps, models, dioramas, clothing and equipment used by aviators.
Aviation museums vary in size from housing just one or two aircraft to hundreds. They may be owned by national, regional or local governments or be privately owned. Some museums address the history and artifacts of space exploration as well, illustrating the close association between aeronautics and astronautics.
Many aviation museums concentrate on military or civil aviation, or on aviation history of a particular era, such as pioneer aviation or the succeeding "golden age" between the World Wars, aircraft of World War II or a specific type of aviation, such as gliding.
Aviation museums may display their aircraft only on the ground or fly some of them. Museums that do not fly their aircraft may have decided not to do so either because the aircraft are not in condition to fly or because they are considered too rare or valuable. Museums may fly their aircraft in air shows or other aviation related events, accepting the risk that flying them entails.
Some museums have sets of periodicals, technical manuals, photographs and personal archives. These are often made available to aviation researchers for use in writing articles or books or to aircraft restoration specialists working on restoring an aircraft.
Aviation Museum News, Reviews & Resources
- Auto & Technik MUSEUM SINSHEIM - "We have two fully accessible supersonic jets for you, the Concorde and Tupolev TU-144, located on the museum roof."
- Aviodrome - large aerospace museum in the Netherlands that has been located on Lelystad Airport since 2003.
- Brooklands Museum - "The Birthplace of British Motorsport and Aviation, Home of Concorde." Weybridge, Surrey, England, U.K.
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum - Canada's national aviation history museum. The museum is located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, at the Ottawa/Rockcliffe Airport.
- Central Air Force Museum - housed at Monino Airfield, 40 km east of Moscow, Russia, is one of the world's largest aviation museums, and the largest for Russian aircraft. 173 aircraft and 127 aircraft engines are on display, and the museum also features collections of weapons, instruments, uniforms (including captured U2 pilot Gary Powers' uniform), other Cold War-era US spy equipment, artwork, and other air-related items.
- Chinese Aviation Museum - aviation museum close to Beijing in China. The museum was first opened to the public on 11 November 1989, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Air Force.
- Fleet Air Arm Museum - "Europe's Largest Naval Aviation Collection." RNAS Yeovilton, Yeovil, Somerset, England, U.K.
- Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour - aviation museum and education center located at the northwest corner of Paine Field in Mukilteo, Washington. It is the starting point for the Boeing Tour, a tour of a portion of Boeing's Everett, Washington production facility in which the models 747, 767, 777 and 787 are built.
- Hangar-7 - owned by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz is not a hangar in a traditional sense but rather a multifunctional building with a collection of 25 historical airplanes, helicopters and Formula One racing cars. It houses a restaurant, two bars, a lounge and aircraft, and is open to the public. It includes the Michelin starred restaurant Ikarus. Salzburg, Austria.
- Imperial War Museum Duxford - branch of the Imperial War Museum near Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England. Britain's largest aviation museum, Duxford houses the museum's large exhibits, including nearly 200 aircraft, military vehicles, artillery and minor naval vessels in seven main exhibition buildings. The site also provides storage space for the museum's other collections of material such as film, photographs, documents, books and artefacts.
- MUSÉE AIR + ESPACE - Aéroport de Paris-Le Bourget, 93350 Le Bourget, France. French aerospace museum. Occupying over 150,000 square metres (1,600,000 sq ft) of land and hangars, it is one of the oldest aviation museums in the world. The museum's collection contains more than 19,595 items, including 150 aircraft, and material from as far back as the 16th Century. Also displayed are more modern air and spacecraft, including the prototype for Concorde, and Swiss and Soviet rockets.
- Museum of Flight - since 1965. The largest private air and space museum in the world. King County International Airport (Boeing Field), 9404 E. Marginal Way, Tukwila, Washington, U.S.A.
- National Museum of the United States Air Force - the official museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 6 miles (9.7 km) northeast of Dayton, Ohio. The NMUSAF has one of the world's largest collections with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display.
- Palm Springs Air Museum - non-profit educational institution in Palm Springs, Riverside County, California. The Museum's mission is to exhibit, educate and eternalize the role of the World War II combat aircraft and the role the pilots and American citizens had in winning the war. It contains one of the world's largest collections of flying World War II warplanes, many of which were built in Southern California.
- Pima Air & Space Museum - located in Tucson, Arizona, is one of the world's largest non-government funded aerospace museums. The museum features a display of nearly 300 aircraft spread out over 80 acres (320,000 m2) on a campus occupying 127 acres (610,000 m2).
- Polish Aviation Museum - arge museum of old aircraft and aircraft engines in Kraków, Poland. Has been scored as eighth world's best aviation museum by CNN television.
- Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum - you can discover what it's like to be inside one of our aircraft and look inside a replica fuselage of a Pilatus PC12. Alice Springs, Australia.
- Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum - holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world in 161,145 square feet (14,970.9 m2) of exhibition floor space. It was established in 1946, as the National Air Museum and opened its main building near L'Enfant Plaza in 1976. In 2014, the museum saw approximately 6.7 million visitors, making it the 5th most visited museum in the world. 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560, U.S.A.
- STEVEN F. UDVAR-HAZY CENTER - Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 14390 Air and Space Museum Pkwy, Chantilly, VA 20151, U.S.A. Displays historic aviation & space artifacts, including: the Enola Gay, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan & an Air France Concorde supersonic airliner.
- Ukraine State Aviation Museum - aviation museum located next to Zhulyany Airport in Kiev, Ukraine. The museum offers both aircraft exhibits and also interactive displays. The museum is one of the larger aviation museums displaying Soviet technology.