The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum opened the completed portion of the renovation at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
The Museum calls itself “the world’s largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts, encompassing all aspects of human flight, as well as related works of art and archival materials.” It’s typically the most visited museum in the United States.
The museum occupies two locations: The original location is in Washington, DC and the newer Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is the annex, located outside DC next to Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia. That facility was made possible by a $65 million donation by Steven F. Udvar-Házy, a co-founder of the aircraft leasing firm International Lease Finance Corporation, or ILFC.
In this episode, we look at the DC facility. It was established in 1946 as the National Air Museum and the main building opened on the National Mall in 1976. In 2018 the Museum started a $250 million seven-year renovation project. When the renovation is completed, all of the museum’s 23 galleries and presentation spaces will be updated or completely redone.
On Oct. 14, 2022, the downtown museum reopened with eight new and renovated galleries in the west wing. Our Hillel Glazer was present representing the Airplane Geeks podcast at the press preview day, and he recorded some interviews.
Hillel recorded the opening video and the remarks from Christopher Browne, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Browne joined the museum as deputy director in 2017 and served as acting director from 2021 to 2022 when he was named director.
Next, Hillel speaks with Dr. Jermery Kinner, the Associate Director of Research and Curatorial Affairs at the National Air and Space Museum. He leads the Museum’s three research and curatorial departments (Aeronautics, the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies or CEPS, and Space History). Kinner also provides counsel and advice on curatorial and museum affairs to the Director and the Senior Leadership Team.
Finally, we’ll hear from Beth Wilson. She’s been an educator at the Museum since 2004.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight and Hillel Glazer.