By Southwester Staff
The National Air and Space Museum’s flagship building on the National Mall will temporarily close to the public March 28, 2022 until fall 2022 to complete work on the first new galleries in the west wing of the building. The museum has been undergoing a major renovation since late 2018.
The museum states that the closure is needed to ensure the continued safety of visitors. Upon reopening, the museum’s west-end galleries will open all at one time; their opening date will be announced next year. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the museum’s companion facility in Chantilly, Virginia, will operate as usual with regular visiting hours and events. The museum will also continue doing virtual events and has online materials about the collection.
The west-end exhibitions opening in fall 2022 will include “America by Air,” “The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age,” “Nation of Speed,” “Thomas W. Haas We All Fly,” “One World Connected,” “Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery,” “Destination Moon” and “Early Flight.” The museum store and Albert Einstein Planetarium will also open in the fall.
The second half of the project will begin at the end of March 2022 with the deinstallation of the east wing of the building. The completion of that wing, the culmination of the project and the opening of the remaining exhibitions are currently scheduled for 2025.
While the museum on the National Mall is closed, some of its collection and items related to air and space content can be found in other Smithsonian museums, including several meteorites at the National Museum of Natural History, the Tomahawk cruise missile at the National Museum of the American Indian, the PT-13D Stearman Kaydet aircraft at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Huey helicopter at the National Museum of American History and the Goddard 1935 Series-A Rocket in the new “FUTURES” exhibition at the Arts and Industries Building. The museum is also working on additional ways to share its content at other Smithsonian locations on the National Mall during the closure.
The museum has also greatly expanded its digital offerings in recent years, including online programs and activities, greater access to its collections and stories of aviation and space pioneers. These include:
• Regular online live chats with museum experts and guests such as astronauts
• Online story time
• Virtual scavenger hunts
• And lectures from leaders in aviation and space exploration
Online content is available at airandspace.si.edu.