About the Collections

The National Air and Space Museum holds in trust over 60,000 artifacts and more than 20,000 cubic feet of archival materials. Historic aircraft and space artifacts, such as the 1903 Wright Flyer and the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, highlight the National Collection. Thousands of additional artifacts—including engines, rockets, uniforms, spacesuits, balloons, artwork, documents, manuscripts, and photographs—document the richness of the history of flight. A wide variety of these artifacts are on display at the Museum in Washington, DC and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.


Spirit of St. Louis


The Object Collection
We are best known for our collection of rare and historically significant aircraft and spacecraft. The object collection also includes engines, medals, trophies, instruments, and equipment, models, artwork, spacesuits, uniforms, and much more. Altogether, the collection includes more than 30,000 aviation and 9,000 space objects. About 20 percent of the collection, including about 80 percent of the largest aircraft and spacecraft are on public display. Many objects are on loan to institutions around the world, while a significant number of objects are in storage.



1903 Wright Flyer First Flight, Kitty Hawk, N.C.


Archival Collections
Our archival collections include photographs, manuscripts, technical drawings, documents, film, and oral histories spanning the history of flight. Reference services and resources for visiting researchers are available from our Archives Department.

The Moon Io


Regional Planetary Image Faciliy
In addition to conducting groundbreaking planetary research, our Center for Earth and Planetary Studies houses a NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility. Images and data from Earth-observing missions and planetary spacecraft are available to visiting researchers.

Freedom 7 Arrives in Boston


Loan Program
One of our objects may be on display in a museum near you. Our artifacts and archival materials reach an even wider audience through an active loan program that makes the National Collection accessible to museums in the United States and around the world.

Photograph Restoration


Donating to the Collection
Wondering if you can donate items to the Museum? We do accept donations of objects, photographs, and documents of particular significance to the history of aviation and spaceflight, but we consider these very carefully based on our collecting rationale. Find out more about donating to the our collection.