Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography

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  • A history of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (NASM), from its earliest collections to the 21st century. Opens with a foreword by John H. Glenn, Jr. Chapter 1, by Tom D. Crouch, traces the history of aviation and includes a section on the Wright-Smithsonian controversy. Chapter 2, by F. Robert van der Linden, focuses on the building of the collection in the early 20th century, with a section by Crouch on Robert Goddard and the Smithsonian. Chapter 3, by Dominick A. Pisano, details the struggles to secure a suitable building for the Air Museum, with a section by Neufeld on the NASA-NASM partnership. Chapter 4, by Ted A. Maxwell and Crouch, discusses the years after the new building opened in 1976, as NASM became the most visited museum in the world, with section by Dik A. Daso and Crouch on the "Enola Gay" controversy. Chapter 5, by Daso, focuses on the expansion of the museum to the Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. An Afterword by Director John R. Dailey looks at the future of the Museum.
  • The volume is heavily illustrated, providing glimpses of the art, artifact, and archival collections, with images of artifacts, exhibits, historic figures and historic documents. Includes a bibliography and index.


  • Goddard, Robert Hutchings 1882-1945
  • National Air and Space Museum Dulles Center
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Air Museum (U.S.)
  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Enola Gay (Exhibition) (1995: Washington, D.C.)


Smithsonian History Bibliography


The editors and writers are curators at the National Air and Space Museum.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Museum buildings
  • Controversies
  • Museums
  • Construction (Buildings)
  • History
  • Wright Brothers' Airplane
  • Museums--History


Washington (D.C.)



Physical description

Number of pages : 400; Page numbers : 1-399

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