Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Collections

Acquisitions

Aeronautics

  • Airship Lifeboat. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. donated an important piece of U.S. aeronautical heritage to the Museum: the lifeboat used from two early attempted crossings of the Atlantic by airships in 1910 and 1912. After a period of clean-up it will be displayed in the Udvar-Hazy Center. Read more in this press release.
  • Kittinger Collection. World record-setting parachutist and balloonist Col. Joseph W. Kittinger Jr. donated a collection of items from his long aviation career. The items include a flight jacket, silk scarf, POW bracelet, and a trophy.
  • Leising Estate. David Leising was an avionics engineer who left a bequest of approximately 1,200 artifacts, out of which 156 were selected for the collection. These artifacts significantly enhance the Museum's collection of bombsights, gunsights, and related hardware.

Space History

  • Space Shuttle Excess Property. NASA has initiated an incremental release of excess property from the Space Shuttle program. Among the items acquired in 2010 are:
    • Space Shuttle Inertial Measurement Unit.  Three IMUs feed vehicle attitude and velocity information into the shuttle's guidance and navigation system. This newly acquired flown IMU is an impressive addition to the Museum's space avionics collection.
    • Shuttle-era Spaceflight Artifacts. Among the most interesting of the human spaceflight items received are components of the Extravehicular Mobility Unit, the spacesuit worn by astronauts working outside the shuttle. The Museum is acquiring enough components to either assemble a Shuttle-era Extravehicular Activities suit or to display a suit in "exploded" form to show how modular it is.
    • Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer. The largest and most impressive artifact assigned to the Museum thus far is a crew compartment trainer from the Johnson Space Center — a highly realistic version of the shuttle flight deck and middeck from the orbiter's nose to the payload bay. The crew compartment trainer should enable the Museum to offer a shuttle walk-through experience similar to our Skylab and Boeing 747 displays.

Archives

  • Howard Levy Photography Collection. Howard Levy (1921-2010) was one of the nation's outstanding aviation photographers. This collection consists of various types of Mr. Levy's photographic work. 
  • Charles Lindbergh Mil-Hi Airways and Flying Circus Collection. This collection documents the summer of 1925 when Charles Lindbergh accepted a job offer to fly for the Mil-Hi Airways and Flying Circus in Colorado.
  • Captain William B. Voortmeyer Papers. This collection documents the career of Captain William Bertus Voortmeyer (1891-1952), a master maritime navigator, who developed many early aerial navigation systems. 

Photo: The Akron airship lifeboat is shown here being moved into the Museum's storage facility at Washington-Dulles International Airport.