Air and Space Museum

Neal V. Loving in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1954

In 1946, a Black Pilot Returned to the Cockpit After a Double Amputation

Neal V. Loving, whose memoir will soon be released by Smithsonian Books, built his own planes, ran a flight school and conducted research for the Air Force

Miriam Wosk's illustration of a blue-skinned, eight-armed multitasking woman adorned the first cover of Ms. magazine. "Making her blue was a way of making her universal," says Gloria Steinem in this month's "Portraits" podcast.

Explore the Founding of 'Ms.' Magazine and the Making of a Space Telescope Photograph in This Month’s Featured Podcasts

“AirSpace” speaks to astronomer Shauna Edson and “Portraits” drops in on activist and author Gloria Steinhem

At the Natural History Museum, "Cellphone: Unseen Connections" opens June 23; at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, "Give Me a Sign: The Language of Symbols" goes on view May 13; and "Ay-Ō's Happy Rainbow Hell" is part of the National Museum of Asian Art's centennial exhibitions, opening March 25.

Twenty-Three Smithsonian Shows to See in 2023

A rare Bible, George Clinton's colorful wig, Disney World history and Japanese ghosts debut this year

On January 9, 2023, Spanish aeronautic engineer Juan de la Cierva became the first person to fly an autogiro.

How Quixote’s Windmills Inspired a Spanish Inventor to Envision Vertical Flight

The autogiro finds new fans a century after its first liftoff

After the American Revolution, why did the colonies keep their British nobility namesakes?

Why Did the American Colonies Keep Their British Names After the Revolution?

You've got questions. We've got experts

Giving a nod to previous human flight and exploration is a tradition of space travel.

Ten Strange and Amazing Historical Artifacts We’ve Launched to Space

As spaceflight catapults us into a high-tech future, several missions have made sure to honor the past

The “Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery” is now open to visitors at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

The Jury-Rigged Experiment that Led to the Discovery of Unknown Worlds

See the Kepler technology demonstrator at the National Air and Space Museum, along with a host of technologies that brought success to space exploration

Marine biologist Mike Barnette and wreck diver Jimmy Gadomski explore a large segment of the Challenger Space Shuttle, which exploded in 1986. 

Cool Finds

Divers Accidentally Find a Piece of the Challenger Space Shuttle

A documentary film crew stumbled across a section of the destroyed spacecraft that measures at least 15 by 15 feet

The Wright Flyer is among the iconic artifacts held at the Smithsonian. When visitors come to see it, they tend to fall silent, says curator Peter Jakab. “People often recognize that they’re standing in front of something special.”

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

How the Wright Brothers Took Flight

The remarkable story of how the duo grew to become world-changing inventors and international celebrities

"Sidedoor" host Lizzie Peabody creaks across museum attic floorboards and sneaks into an old house in the woods (above: What lurks inside the Sellman House at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center?) to investigate the spooky stories that only a few dare to tell.

The Ghosts Who Haunt the Smithsonian

Mysterious tales head up podcast offerings for late October and November

The Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, the only part of the spacecraft from the first moon-landing expedition to return to Earth, is on view with the space suit that Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon in July 1969.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

The Incredible Technology That Made Humanity's Moon Dreams a Reality

A new, completely reimagined exhibition goes beyond the Cold War narrative to explore the full story of lunar landings

The museum's doors reopen Friday, October 14 (above: an early morning view from the exterior of the "America by Air" exhibition) following a seven-month closure due to massive renovations.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

Buckle Up for the Reopening of One of America's Most Popular Museums

An HVAC overhaul led to a total building replacement. Today's must-see National Air and Space Museum adds new stories and new artifacts

Among the eight exhibitions opening October 14, 2022, is "The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age," featuring the museum's iconic 1903 Wright Flyer.

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

A New Look for the National Air and Space Museum

Follow the October reopening of America’s most-visited museum with exclusive coverage from Smithsonian magazine

Six years after Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the first airplane in 1903, the Army purchased the Wright Military Flyer for $30,000.

After the Wright Brothers Took Flight, They Built the World's First Military Airplane

The 1909 Military Flyer is the centerpiece of the "Early Flight" exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum

This month, Portraits, a podcast from the National Portrait Gallery, revisits "Finding Cleopatra," a Sidedoor episode with host Lizzie Peabody exploring the life of the artist Edmonia Lewis (above: a photographic portrait by Henry Rocher, c. 1890).

Cleopatra’s Iconoclastic Sculptor Was Her Own Kind of Queen

Smithsonian podcasts delve into the life of Edmonia Lewis, how astronauts sleep, the evolution of the human brain; and drop in on painter Kay WalkingStick

Neal V. Loving’s WR-3, shown at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, will move to the redesigned galleries on the National Mall.

The West Wing of the National Air and Space Museum Prepares to Take Flight

The Smithsonian museum reopens to the public, transforming the way we tell the story of aviation

The Bell X-1, a miracle of form and function.

How the Bell X-1 Ushered in the Supersonic Age

The speeding-bullet design propelled Chuck Yeager into history

In “Postage Pairings,” from the National Portrait Gallery, host Kim Sajet speaks with the Smithsonian's Daniel Piazza, curator of philately, about postage stamps (left: 29c single, july 30, 1993) reproduced from portraits (right: Benjamin Franklin by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, c. 1785).

The Revolutionary Role Mail Played in America’s Fight for Independence

Hear about the colonial period postal service in the latest "Portraits" podcast

In the aftermath of the disaster and for decades to follow, numerous theories emerged. The men had been captured by the Japanese. They had been murdered by a stowaway. They had killed each other in a fight over a woman. They had simply fallen out of the blimp.

The 80-Year Mystery of the U.S. Navy's 'Ghost Blimp'

The L-8 returned from patrolling the California coast for Japanese subs in August 1942, but its two-man crew was nowhere to be found

Between March 19 and April 17, 1964, Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock (above: at the start of her journey at Ohio's Port Columbus Airport) flew her single-engine Cessna 180, dubbed "Charlie," solo around the globe setting a world record.

Women Who Shaped History

Who Was the First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World?

When the National Air and Space Museum reopens October 14, Geraldine Mock’s Cessna 180 soars in the new exhibition, "We All Fly"

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