Courtesy National Air and Space Museum
Group Travel Leader
Published July 07, 2014
WASHINGTON — A $30 million gift from Boeing will help fund a major renovation of Milestones of Flight, the main hall at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
The extensive renovation will give the hall, which has remained basically the same since it opened in 1976, a “steamlined, 21st-century look,” according to Smithsonian officials.
The expanded exhibition will trace the interconnected stories of the world’s most significant aircraft and spacecraft. Key artifacts will be selected because they tell multiple stories and will be organized to connect themes.
Some of the objects, such as the Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1 and the Mercury Friendship 7 already reside in the gallery, while other icons such as the Apollo Lunar Module, the Telstar satellite and the model of the Starship Enterprise used in the “Star Trek” television series, will be new.
A new media wall and kiosks will enable visitors to view artifacts in different contexts, look them up by topic or theme and connect to other sources of information.
The square footage of the exhibition will be enlarged and the displays will take full advantage of the atrium’s two-story height.
The renovation will be completed in time for the museum’s 40th anniversary in 2016, which is also Boeing’s 100th anniversary.