Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Director's Message

Another Milestone

We have a tradition of celebrating milestones at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The aircraft and spacecraft we collect, the scientific research we conduct, and exhibitions and programs we offer, focus on important achievements.

It is fitting, therefore, that this year we recognized an important milestone in the history of the Museum itself. With the end of construction of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, we officially completed the expansion of the Museum. Not long after the Museum opened on the National Mall in 1976, it was clear that additional space was needed for the storage, care, and exhibition of the national collection. Years of planning were followed by construction of the Udvar-Hazy Center, the first phase of which opened in 2003. As of late 2010, the entire building is now finished and awaits the installation of artifacts and archival materials over the next few years. Establishment of the preservation and conservation activities in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar will offer the public access to this important behind-the-scenes work.

The $338 million Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center was built without federal funds. Congress allocated $8 million for the design of the center, but President Clinton stipulated that no federal funds be used for construction. The building campaign has been successful thanks to individual donors and organizations. We are grateful for this generous investment in our future.

Major achievements also occurred in all areas of the Museum in 2010. Scientific discoveries were made, new exhibitions opened, artifacts were acquired and restored, educational activities and programs drew larger audiences, outreach grew, and books, including the story of the Museum itself, were published.

This Annual Report offers highlights of the work conducted at the National Mall Building, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, and the Paul E. Garber Facility in 2010. Millions of individuals supported and participated in activities last year. We are proud of our achievements and look forward to serving Americans and our visitors through our mission in the years to come.

J.R. Dailey
Museum Director