The Museum of Flight, in Seattle, is yet another great aerospace museum. It reminded me very much to the National Air and Space Museum in DC both because of the wealth of aircraft and artifacts in display and the variety of explanations provided (videos, sounds, readings, gadgets to play with…).
The museum is divided in the following areas:
T. A. Wilson Great Gallery (named after Boeing CEO from 1969-1986): this is the first gallery you face when you enter the museum. It hosts:
- a replica of Boeing Model 1 (first Boeing airplane),
- a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird plus a cockpit for visitors to enter in it,
- a 737 converted into a theater with movies being played inside,
- an exhibition of the bush pilots of Alaska and the development of air mail,
- some flight simulators,
- a DC-3, a Bell “Huey” UH-1H Iroquois, etc.
- Bill & Moya Lear Gallery (Space Exhibit, named after the founder of Lear Jet Corporation): located at the side of the Great Gallery it has a diorama of the Apollo 17 landing site, with rover included, a replica of the International Space Station Destiny Research Laboratory, etc.
- The Tower: with direct view over the runway.
- William E. Boeing Red Barn (named after Boeing founder): in my point of view this is “the” highlight of the museum (allow yourself over an hour for this part alone). It explains both:
- the birth of aviation: with models and panels explaining the contributions of many of the aviation pioneers (see this blog post in which I went through some of them), and,
- the history of Boeing: from the moment in which the timber businessman, Bill Boeing founds the company, the first Boeing Model 1 (see replica in the picture above), the tools, materials and processes used at the time, how did the factory look, the great aircraft programmes which meant different breakthroughs for the company and the great engineers behind them…
- Charles Simonyi Space Gallery (named after the Microsoft executive who became in 2007 the 5th space tourist and who in 2009 travelled to the International Space Station): which highlight is the Space Shuttle Trainer used to train Space Shuttle astronauts at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
- Airpark: with the Boeing 747 “City of Everett” (first ever 747, first ever wide-body aircraft), a Boeing 707 Air Force One, a Concorde, a Lockheed Constellation…
- J. Elroy McCaw WWI and WWII galleries (named after a broadcasting magnate): unfortunately I did not have time to properly visit these galleries before the closing of the museum… a reason to come back again.
See some of the pictures I took at the museum:
I definitely recommend to visit this museum if you happen to be in Seattle. It is located in the South of Seattle at Boeing Field / King County airport. I would suggest to take no less than 5 hours to visit the museum and to arrive before noon, otherwise there will be some parts that you will not be able to visit properly (as it happened to me with the WWI and WWII galleries).