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.

Learn about our donors 

Location in Museum National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
Gallery 203
Map of the second floor of the National Air and Space Museum's Washington, D.C., building, highlighting in yellow a gallery on the north side of the building, three galleries west of center.
Plan Your Visit
Related Topics: Aviation Aircraft Interwar aviation Military aviation Sports aviation Spaceflight People Records and Firsts Rockets 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 with a teaser video... ...or take a step inside! Take a virtual tour of the exhibit 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 See more objects in this exhibit
Five Connections Between the Need for Speed in the Air and on the Ground Speed and the Cold War Roscoe Turner and Gilmore the Flying Lion The Fastest Man on Earth The Man Behind High-Speed Safety Standards

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


You may also like What is General Aviation? Imagining Faster-Than-Light Travel X-15: The World's Fastest Rocket Plane and the Pilots Who Ushered in the Space Age Thomas W. Haas We All Fly National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC On View Exhibition Museum Transformation Be the Spark

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.

Learn About Our Transformation