The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has raised $165 million of the $250 million campaign goal to reimagine all its galleries and presentation spaces. The new exhibits are part of the overall seven-year project to completely renovate the museum’s building on the National Mall that began in 2018. The project includes replacing the museum’s exterior stone, infrastructure, and mechanical systems, funded through federal appropriations, and the redesigning of all of its exhibitions, made possible through the museum’s “Ignite Tomorrow” campaign. The first eight new galleries on the west end of the building are scheduled to open late next year.
“As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of our flagship building on the National Mall, we are grateful for this support that allows us to reimagine one of the country’s favorite museums,” said Chris Browne, acting director of the museum. “We would not have reached this milestone without the generosity of those who recognized how important this unique place is to future innovators and explorers.”
The museum has received leadership support from individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Boeing Company, Raytheon Technologies, Thomas W. Haas Foundation, Kenneth C. Griffin, The Hillside Foundation—Allan and Shelley Holt, Kislak Family Foundation/Jay I. Kislak, Textron Inc., American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Barron Hilton/Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Jacobs and David M. Rubenstein. A full list of donors to the project thus far is available.
Since the project began in December 2018, over 2,000 artifacts have been deinstalled from the building in Washington, and most were moved to storage at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Of those artifacts, the majority have been conserved, preserved or restored. Museum staff started to install artifacts in the new galleries earlier this year. The west-end galleries, scheduled to open to visitors in fall 2022, will include “America by Air,” “Destination Moon,” “Early Flight,” “Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets,” “Nation of Speed,” “One World Connected,” “Thomas W. Haas We All Fly” and “The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age.”
The museum’s website has more information about how the museum is transforming all of its exhibitions and revitalizing the building and its “Ignite Tomorrow” campaign.
The National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport.