National Air and Space Museum Offering Rare, Behind-the-Scenes Opportunity

Press Release

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 1:00pm

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Alison Mitchell, 202-633-2376,

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Open House Planned for the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will celebrate the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center’s 10th anniversary with an open house Saturday, Jan. 25. For one day only, the museum will give visitors a rare, behind-the-scenes look into spaces usually inaccessible to the public. The daylong event will also include demonstrations and hands-on activities for all ages, as well as presentations on how the museum preserves, cares for and displays its collection.

A unique feature of the center is that visitors can watch collections specialists at work from a mezzanine above the restoration hangar. During the open house, visitors will be able to walk through this area and get an intimate view of the restoration work being done, as well as:

• Meet curators, conservators, archivists and other specialists, and learn how they care for objects in the museum’s collection
• Learn how the aircraft are hung for display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar
• Meet shuttle astronaut Stephen Robinson at Discovery in the Space Hangar
• See how the most fragile artifacts are stored and cared for
• Peek into the Conservation Lab and hear from conservators about projects they are working on
• Get tips for photographing objects in the museum from a staff photographer
• Children can build their own plane and listen to story time

Admission to the museum and open house is free; parking is $15. The open house is made possible through the support of FBR. Learn more about his event here.

Since it opened in conjunction with the nation’s Centennial of Flight in 2003, the center has expanded in all areas, most notably because of a new wing devoted to collections care. The new section contains several state-of-the-art storage facilities for entire collections, such as spacesuits and works of art, as well as a conservation lab and processing units, and the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, a 48,000-square-foot facility large enough to house seven aircraft at the same time. The museum’s archival research facility, containing millions of documents, photographs, and film and video collections, is also at the center. The number of major artifacts on display, arranged in thematic sections following a “displayed storage” design scheme, has risen from 348 in 2003 to 3,250 today.

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Attendance at both buildings combined was 8 million in 2012, making it the most visited museum in America. The museum’s research, collections, exhibitions and programs focus on aeronautical history, space history and planetary studies. Both buildings are open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25).

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  • Collections

    Collections staff member, Anthony Carp, works on the Helldiver in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA.

  • Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
    A partial view of the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
  • Helldiver

    Collections staff member, Will Lee, works on the Helldiver in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, VA.

  • Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory
    In the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, Lisa Young, Lauren Horelick, and Stephanie Spence (left to right) clean a fuel tank from the airship Norge, which made the first crossing of the Arctic Ocean in 1926.