The Archives Division holds approximately twelve hundred
collections of several types.
- Personal and professional papers may
document the professional activities of the material's creator as well
as personal and family matters.
- Corporate and organizational records reflect the
activities of those entities.
- Artificial collections compiled by someone other
than the creator consist primarily of published materials gathered from
a number of sources to form reference files around one or more topics.
A major attraction of these collections is their visual
representation of air and space craft through photographs
and technical drawings. The latter vary from
three-view drawings to detailed engineering plans, many of which are on
microfilm. The archives also holds many technical
manuals that document the design, construction, and performance of
air and space craft and the engines that powered them. These documents
assist aircraft restorers and modelers as well as historians of technology.
More online information on Archives Division collections
will be added in the future. Currently, a small selection of Archives
Division collections is described in a series of online
The Archives Division's collections are generally open
to anyone with a research need. Access to some materials may be restricted
by their donors. Fragile materials may also be restricted to assure their
preservation. Staff will make every effort to inform researchers of known
More detailed information on a portion of our high-use
and/or fully-processed collections is available through the links below.
Aircraft Technical Manuals
Aircraft History Cards
Technical Reference Files
Captured German and Japanese
Air Technical Documents
with Online Finding Aids
The National Air and Space Museum Archives has contributed
descriptions of over 500 of our collections to the Smithsonian
Institution Research Information System (SIRIS), a pan-institutional
system that provides access, for staff and public alike, to the information
resources held by the Institution's libraries, archives, art inventories,
and research units. Please visit SIRIS
to search on these collections.
Requests for additional information on any collection,
or assistance with a specific research project may be directed to the
NASM Archives Reference Desk.