Past Exhibitions

Red Bull Stratos - Manned Flight Two: Felix Baumgartner

Red Bull Stratos: Mission to the Edge of Space
Closed May 26, 2014
This temporary exhibition features the pressurized balloon gondola in which Felix Baumgartner ascended to the edge of space on October 14, 2012 and a pressure suit he wore on a flight on July 25.

Global View

Views of Africa
Closed February 16, 2014
This collaboration with the National Museum of African Art presents an exploration of diverse perspectives of the Earth, focusing on the dynamic landscapes of Africa.

Flying Boy Over Truro's Pond

High Art
Closed on December 1, 2013

High Art: A Decade of Collecting presents 50 works acquired by the Museum from 2003 to 2013.


Searching for Goldilocks

Searching for Goldilocks
Closed on December 1, 2013

Searching for Goldilocks is a sculpture created by artist Angela Palmer in 2012. The artwork name refers to the term "Goldilocks planet" — a world not too hot or not too cold to be habitable for life.


Apollo Spacesuit Overshoe

Suited for Space
Closed on December 1, 2013

Suited for Space reveals the remarkable creativity and ingenuity of nearly a century of flight and spacesuit design and development.


Exhibition Banner for Leonardo Da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds
Closed October 22, 2013
This exhibit will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appreciate the genius of Leonardo da Vinci in the same space as the Wright Flyer, which made the airplane a reality four centuries after the Leonardo produced the Codex on the Flight of Birds.

Yuri Gagarin

Fifty Years of Human Space Flight
Closed on September 16, 2013
This exhibit celebrates the Soviet Union and United States' achievements of launching the first human beings into space in 1961, and examines the technological challenges and public impact, as well as the secrecy surrounding the Soviet effort.

<i>49 Jets</i> on display in <i>AirCraft: The Jet As Art</i>

AirCraft: The Jet as Art
Closed on November 25, 2012
Standing at the end of a runway, Jeffrey Milstein captures images of aircraft moments before landing. Carefully positioned and using a high-resolution digital camera, he photographs them from below as they streak past at speeds up to 175 miles per hour. 

<i>Fluid Dynamics</i> in NASA | Art

NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration
Closed on October 11, 2011
For almost half a century, artists participating in the NASA art program have been documenting the extraordinary adventure of space flight in ways that no camera could match. This exhibition includes some 70 paintings from the NASA collection, including drawings, photographs and pieces of sculpture by such artists as Annie Leibovitz, Nam June Paik, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth.

Grumman X-29 full-scale model

Beyond The Limits
Closed on May 23, 2011
This gallery depicted the computer revolution in aviation and space. Seven exhibit areas, including many "hands-on" interactive computers, illustrated the primary applications of the computer in aerospace: Design, Aerodynamics, Computer-Aided Manufacture, Flight Testing, Air Operations, Flight Simulators and Space Operations.

Planet Earth

Earth Today
Closed on May 23, 2011

The ability to see Earth from space has forever changed our view of the planet. We are now able to look at the Earth as a whole, and observe how its atmosphere, oceans, landmasses, and life interact as global systems. Earth's atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere are dynamic, changing on timescales of days, minutes, or even seconds. Monitoring the Earth in near real time allows us to get an up-to-date picture of conditions on our planet.

Earth Today presents near real time data of the Earth's atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere.  


GPS Constellation

GPS: A New Constellation
Closed on May 23, 2011
Located inside Beyond The Limits (gallery 213), this exhibition examined the history, development, and current applications of the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Io High Above Jupiter’s Storms

Beyond: Visions of Our Solar System
Closed on May 2, 2011

Artist Michael Benson manipulates extraordinary images of the Solar System from NASA and other planetary databases in order to present what our eyes might see if we could visit these spectacular places ourselves.


First Men - Neil Armstrong

Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World
Closed on January 13, 2010

Forty years ago, the Moon received its first human visitors. On July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle landed, and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface. To celebrate this 40th anniversary, this exhibition presents a view of the Apollo journeys through the eyes of the first artist to visit another world.

Alan Bean became the fourth man to walk on the Moon during Apollo 12 in 1969. After 18 years as an astronaut, he resigned from NASA in 1981 to dedicate his life to the art of painting his memories of Apollo.

Employing an impressionistic style, Bean captures the spirit of Apollo with lunar landscapes, portraits of fellow moonwalkers, and views of Earth from space. His works offer glimpses of a world on which only he and 11 others have walked.

Displaying both art and artifacts, this exhibition weaves the technology of one of humankind’s greatest achievements with an artist’s firsthand account of a new frontier.


Jules Verne Craft

Rocketry and Spaceflight
Closed on February 16, 2008

This gallery explored two key technologies that have made spaceflight possible: rockets and spacesuits. But it also paid tribute to the dreamers, writers, and visionaries whose ideas inspired many of the pioneers who would help realize humanity’s dream of spaceflight.

It demonstrated how science fiction—at least some of it—became fact, and how Chinese fireworks rockets ultimately led to titanic vehicles that sent people to the Moon. Many types of rocket engines were on display, along with an intriguing collection of flight suits and spacesuits.


Douglas DC-3 in Air Transportation Gallery

Air Transportation
Closed on November 10, 2007

The Air Transportation gallery was renovated and replaced with the America by Air exhibition in 2007.


Earth from Space--Lena Delta

Earth From Space
Closed on January 7, 2007

Earth from Space explained how satellite imagery is gathered and used to expand our understanding of life on Earth. Much like the pictures that appear on an ordinary computer monitor or television screen, satellite data are made up of pixels, or individual picture elements.

Earth from Space presented views of the planet few have witnessed with their own eyes: the swirling arms of a massive hurricane, the grid-like pattern of stripped Bolivian farmland, the triangular shadows cast by the Great Pyramids, the sinuous bend of a Venetian canal. Earth from Space also contains a powerful selection of images showing recent events such as the tsunami-devastated regions of the Pacific.


Junkers W-34, 1930, by Peter Lautenslager

Generous Friends: Building an Art Collection for the National Air and Space Museum
Closed on August 23, 2006
This exhibit showcased some of the 4,250 objects in the Museum’s art collection: paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, ceramic and textile items, jewelry, and other works. The artists represented ranged from those who specialize in aerospace themes to some of the most familiar names in 20th-century American art: Howard Chandler Christy, Norman Rockwell, James Wyeth, Robert Rauschenberg, Alexander Calder.

Betty Skelton Piloting Pitts S-1C <i>Little Stinker</i>

Aerobatic Champions
Closed on April 18, 2003
Aerobatic Champions featured Betty Skelton's Pitts S-1C Little Stinker and Leo Loudenslager's Laser 200, both flown in world championship aerobatic competition. Both aircraft are on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Mars Pathfinder’s View of Twin Peaks

Where Next, Columbus?
Closed on March 4, 2002

Five hundred years ago, Christopher Columbus sailed west across the Atlantic, using the stars to guide him. Today, modern explorers are charting a course that may eventually take humanity out among the stars themselves. How and why have we come from seafaring to spacefaring? What challenges and choices do we face now?

The Where Next, Columbus? exhibition asked visitors to consider the motives and methods of exploration, as well as the options and possibilities for future space exploration.


Painting of Curtiss Helldivers by R.G. Smith

R.G. Smith: The 'Old Master' of the Sky
Closed on September 5, 2000
This temporary aviation art exhibition featured 25 elegant paintings and drawings by renowned artist Robert Grant "R.G" Smith. The exhibition was on display March 24 - September 5, 2000.

Beechcraft King Air at the Udvar-Hazy Center

Business Wings
Closed on July 17, 2000
This exhibition outlines the history of business aviation, the types of aircraft and airports used in private business travel, and the contributions of business travel to the field of aviation.

Wright Brothers: Poster: 1910 Belmont Park

Looping The Loop: Posters of Early Flight
Closed on July 10, 2000

This exhibition featured 32 vintage European aviation posters. Created primarily to entice spectators to air meets, these rarely found posters document the marketing of early flight from its infancy (1880s) to the beginning of World War I (1915).

Drawn from the collection of the Allen Airways Flying Museum in El Cajon, Calif., "Looping the Loop" also was supported by the scholarship and expertise of aviation historian Henry Serrano Villard (1900-1996).


"Star Wars: The Magic of Myth

Star Wars: The Magic of Myth
Closed on February 1, 1999
This exhibition featured artifacts from the development of the Star Wars movie trilogy. View the gallery space through the online virtual exhibit and hear audio clips from the interactive audio tour narrated by James Earl Jones.

Santos-Dumont making the first public flight in Europe

¡Arriba! The History of Flight in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean
Closed on January 5, 1999
Featuring 35 rare photographs and eight detailed models, the exhibition took its title from the Spanish word for "higher" and revealed the little-known stories of the colorful individuals who gave flight to Latin America. ¡Arriba! covered topics such as early aviation pioneers, women aviators, military aviation, and the development of commercial aviation, and celebrates Latin America's courageous aviation heroes.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress <em>Enola Gay</em>

Enola Gay
Closed on May 19, 1998

This exhibition, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, told the story of the role of the Enola Gay in securing Japanese surrender.