Officials call the plan "Phase II," because the initiative to build another wing on the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center has been in the works since the museum was built and opened in 2003. But even as funds were being raised, the cost of steel and concrete soared.
On Tuesday, the fundraising effort was boosted by a $6 million gift from Airbus Americas, the largest donation to the Smithsonian this year. Now, construction can begin and by 2011, the spacious palace of aviation and space technology, will also included storage space, a state of the art conservation laboratory, a restoration hanger and a new and improved archives center. Check out the video above to learn more about the Smithsonian's history of collecting the most famous airplanes and the evolution of the spacecraft collections.