The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Architecture
Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the legislation which established the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) at the Smithsonian Institution. Here is a timeline of key moments in their history thus far:
- December 16, 2003 - Public Law 108-184 - National Museum of African American History and Culture Act establishes the museum at the Smithsonian
- October 2004 - Board of Regents appoints nineteen members to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Council to serve as advisors to the project
- March 14, 2005 - Lonnie G. Bunch III, then director of the Chicago Historical Society, was appointed Founding Director of the museum
- January of 2006 - Board of Regents selects the museum site on the National Mall near the Washington Monument on the southwest corner of 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest
- 2007-2008 - Staff complete extensive planning for the museum building, and an Environmental and Historic Preservation Report in May 2008
- 2007 - Museum staff complete their inaugural exhibit, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, at the National Museum of American History
- 2008 - Save Our African American Treasures Program begins with workshops on the preservation of historical materials for African American communities across the country
- April 2009 - The design team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group was selected from among twenty-two entries submitted by architectural firms worldwide
- 2010 - Exhibition - Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment
- 2011 - Exhibition - The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect and For All the World to See
- February 22, 2012 - Groundbreaking ceremony for the museum
- November 17, 2013 - First objects get installed in the museum
Ten years ago on December 15 the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened in Chantilly, Virginia, near the Washington Dulles International Airport. It coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight. Festivities leading up to the public opening day included a "Salute to Military Aviation Veterans," an opening celebration gala, and the dedication.
Part of the National Air and Space Museum, it serves as the companion facility to the museum on the Mall. Its two hangars, the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar and the Boeing Aviation Hangar, amounts to 760,000 square feet. While the museum on the Mall can only display about 10 percent of the collections at a time, the immense Udvar-Hazy Center allows 80 percent of the collection to be on view.
These two facilities present the largest collection of aviation and space artifacts in the world. Exhibition areas feature such topics from general aviation to modern military aviation to human spaceflight. It also has classrooms, an IMAX theater, and observation tower. Various artifacts include the space shuttle Discovery, a Concorde, and the restored Enola Gay.
The Center is named after donor Steven Udvar-Hazy, now chief executive officer of Air Lease Corp., who had pledged a total of $65 million for the project. Udvar-Hazy came to the United States with his family in 1958 as they fled Soviet-occupied Hungary. He would go on to co-found International Lease Finance Corp. while a student at UCLA. The successful aviation business leader wanted to give back to America with his donation to the Smithsonian. Congress had mandated that only non-federal funds be used for the construction.
"I'm thrilled to have the National Air and Space Museum's companion facility named in my honor. I know this new museum will impart to millions of children the same love for aviation that I have, and it will inspire future generations," Udvar-Hazy said in 2000.
The architectural firm HKO (formerly Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum) designed the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall, and it also was selected to create the new facility. Built in two phases the cost was estimated at $311 million to complete.
This seems like a fitting time to share some of the digital files that we have in the Archives about the opening of this facility. This includes documentation leading up to the opening, plans for the objects and construction issues, as well as images of the dedication and opening ceremonies.
- Udvar-Hazy Center, National Air and Space Museum
- Press release - National Air and Space Museum Opens the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center on December 15, 2003, National Air and Space Museum
- Accession 07-183 - National Air and Space Museum, National Air and Space Society, Event Records, 1996-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives
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