Hi educational travelers!

I wanted to share another guest post from Jeff Stabins. Last Monday, I posted an article of his covering one of the exhibits at the National Air and Space Museum. You can view that post here. For today, he’s back with more of a general overview of what students and teachers will find when they visit the museum on their educational tour. Enjoy!

“If men were meant to fly, they’d have been born with wings!”

Don’t say that to the curators of the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  The world’s largest collection of historic aircraft and space crafts are housed in a massive building that sits on the southern edge of the National Mall.  Teachers and their student travelers should plan on spending half a day of their educational tour to our nation’s capital walking through and viewing the 161,145 square feet of exhibition floor space. From the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis to Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, and Neil Armstrong’s “one small step…” onto the lunar surface, mankind’s greatest scientific achievements in heavier than air vehicles are celebrated in a glorious fashion.

The Air and Space Museum opened in 1976 during our nation’s bicentennial celebration and is the largest of the Smithsonian’s nineteen museums. More than eight million people a year visit the site, making it the most visited museum in our country. The museum’s collection includes over 60,000 objects, from microchips to the massive Saturn V rockets that launched the Apollo aircraft and weigh over 3000 tons each and tower over 36 stories high!

The history of manned flight is fascinating and an integral part of the Smithsonian’s own heritage.  In 1861, the head of the Institution, Joseph Henry, was a physicist, balloon enthusiast, and sky-watcher. He invited Thaddeus Lowe to inflate his hot air balloon on the Smithsonian grounds, eventually leading to the birth of American aerial reconnaissance during the Civil War.

Artifacts and photographs from these earliest days of flight are preserved and available for the public to view on daily educational tours at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

I hope you’ll visit this extraordinary museum on your next student tour as it has a lot to offer its visitors both historically and visually.

Until next time,