See it now; Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum to close for 6 months

Nov 23, 2021

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If you’re planning a visit to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., now is the time to do it. The Smithsonian museum’s main building on the National Mall will close in March 2022 until the fall for renovations.

The museum, widely regarded as one of the top AvGeek attractions in the nation’s capital, is in the midst of a massive seven-year renovation project. Portions of the museum’s National Mall building have been partially closed since 2018, and it was also closed for an extended period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This round of renovations focuses on the building’s west-end galleries. When the museum reopens, the exhibits in this space will include “America by Air” (which features the nose of a Boeing 747, a Douglas DC-3 and a Ford Tri-Motor), “The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age” and “Nation of Speed.” The museum store and planetarium will also reopen at that time.

The project’s focus will then shift to the east end of the building. The entire renovation is expected to be completed in 2025.

More: 5 must-see museums and tours for aviation enthusiasts

The National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport remains open. (Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center that’s located adjacent to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Chantilly, Virginia, will remain open, and the museum is encouraging visits during the main building’s closure. That campus features some remarkable artifacts, including an Air France Concorde, the Boeing 367-80 (the prototype for the venerable 707) and the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Admission is free at the Udvar-Hazy Center (just like at the main building), but expect to pay $15 for parking there.

If you do make it to the main building before the closure, know that hours are currently limited and it’s currently only open between Thursday and Monday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Featured photo by f11photo/Shutterstock.com.

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