Nation of Speed recounts our desire to become the fastest on land, sea, air, and space in the pursuit of commerce, power, and prestige.

Featuring iconic vehicles from Mario Andretti’s Indy 500 winning race car to the Sharp DR 90 Nemesis, Nation of Speed paints a portrait of human ingenuity — the technology developed to propel people faster and faster— and explores how the pursuit of speed has shaped American culture and our national identity.

Nation of Speed is presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

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Location in Museum National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
Gallery 203
Second floor, north side, three galleries west of center.
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Related Topics: Aviation Aircraft Interwar aviation Sports aviation Space People Records and Firsts Rockets Modern military aviation Cold War Take a Look Inside the Gallery

An overhead view of the gallery.

The exhibit features iconic objects from the history of speed.

Preview the Exhibit Inside Nation of Speed Speed Air Racing
In this Exhibit Sharp DR 90 Nemesis Object Rocket Sled, Sonic Wind I Object Turner RT-14 Meteor Object Gilmore the Flying Lion Object T-Shirt, Section 3 Object Motorcycle, Curtiss V-8 Object See more objects in this exhibit
Five Connections Between the Need for Speed in the Air and on the Ground June 30, 2022 Speed and the Cold War July 07, 2022 Roscoe Turner and Gilmore the Flying Lion July 18, 2022 The Fastest Man on Earth June 29, 2022 The Man Behind High-Speed Safety Standards August 22, 2018

The Museum gratefully acknowledges those who have generously supported this gallery.


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A major renovation is underway as we reimagine our galleries and presentation spaces in our iconic National Mall building in Washington, DC. Join us as we inspire a new generation of pioneers and explorers.

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