The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world. It is also a vital center for research into the history, science, and technology of aviation and space flight, as well as planetary science and terrestrial geology and geophysics.
The Museum has two display facilities. The National Mall building in Washington, D.C. has hundreds of artifacts on display including the original Wright 1903 Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 command module, and a lunar rock sample that visitors can touch. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays many more artifacts including the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay and Space Shuttle Enterprise.
The Museum currently conducts restoration of its collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, MD. For years, this facility also displayed many of the Museum’s artifacts kept in storage. Only guided tours allowed access to this portion of the collection. The new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center displays most of the aircraft and spacecraft previously stored at Garber, many never seen before in a museum setting. The Center will also eventually become the Museum’s primary artifact restoration facility.