Exterior View of Concept Model for New National Air Museum

ID: SIA2017-018104

Creator: United States Public Buildings Administration

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: c. 1949

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 07-010, Box 3, Folder: 6

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View of the exterior of a model for a proposed National Air Museum is of a circular building with four columns. The concept was to create a "National Shrine to Aviation" with three galleries: Wright Brothers Memorial, Pioneer Hall of airplanes to display famous firsts in aviation, and Main Exhibit. This design was not selected.


  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Air Museum (U.S.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • In 1958, President Eisenhower authorized the preparation of plans for the construction of a building for a National Air Museum, to be located on a site bounded by Fourth and Seventh Streets SW, Independence Avenue, and Jefferson Drive. The 1964 design by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK) for "a Museum for the Space Age" was selected. However, their initial design was later modified. In July 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law a bill authorizing construction of a new building for the newly-renamed National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Congressional passage of appropriations for the construction of the new museum occurred in 1971. The final design was approved in 1972 and construction began in November of 1972. The museum opened July 1, 1976.
  • The Public Buildings Administration submitted a proposal for a National Air Museum, which was called the Wright Memorial Design, and to build it not on the "Mall" but near Arlington Farms in Virginia or on Theodore Roosevelt Island. Arlington Farms was a temporary housing complex for female civil servants and service members during World War II. Built in 1942-1943 by the United States Government's Federal Works Agency (FWA), Arlington Farms was located on the former site of the United States Department of Agriculture's Arlington Experimental Farm on the grounds of the historic 1,100-acre Custis-Lee family estate in Arlington County, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.
  • For the 1972 final design by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum (HOK), see Neg. SIA2017-018111 through 018119, SIA2017-018122 through SIA2017-018134, and 94-2479. See also Neg. SIA2017-018095 through SIA2017-018101 for initial design by HOK. For other designs for a proposed new National Air Museum see: United States, Public Building Administration 1949; McKim, Mead & White 1955; Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson 1962; and HOK's preliminary design of 1964.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 07-010, Box 3, Folder: 6

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


c. 1949

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Design
  • Airplanes
  • Architecture
  • Models (representations)
  • Aeronautics
  • New Museums
  • Museums
  • Models
  • Aeronautical museums
  • Architecture--Design and plans


Washington (D.C.)


  • Photographic print
  • Exterior
  • Model

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 10w x 6h; Type of Image: Exterior, Model; Medium: Photographic Print

Full Record

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