Posts under ‘Museums’

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

This large aerospace museum is an annex of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Located in Chantilly Virginia this museum features some of the most impressive collection of spacecraft and aircraft found anywhere in the world.

The highlight of the museum is the Space Shuttle Discovery, when we took these photos in late 2011 the test Space Shuttle Enterprise was on display but this has since moved to New York. The museum is home to a Air France Concorde, the only surviving Boeing 307 and the Enola Gay the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during World War II. Read the rest of this entry »

Seattle’s Museum of Flight

The Seattle Museum of Flight is located on King County International Airport better known as Boeing Field on the outskirts of Seattle, Washington. This aviation museum opened in 1965 and is one of the premier museums of its type in the United States, being home to the largest private air and space museum in the world.

The museum is spread over two large annexes and also features a large outdoor area where some of the larger aircraft are on display.

Highlights include the the City of Everett, the first ever Boeing 747, a British Airway’s Concorde and the first presidential jet that served the US President between 1959 and 1996.

New York’s Intrepid

New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is a wonderful display set upon the USS Intrepid a Essex class aircraft carrier that was built during World War II. The ship forms part of a spectacular museum that features a wide range of military, civilian and passenger aircraft. The two biggest iconic attractions are the Concorde and the Space Shuttle Enterprise that made its home at the museum in July of 2012.

The Intrepid is located at Pier 86 off 46th Street on the west side of Manhattan within walking distance of many of New York’s major attractions.

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Motat

Motat is a fascinating museum of transport and technology located in Western Springs a suburb of Auckland. It has an amazing collection of historic vehicles of all types and plenty of heritage and history which will entertain delight and fascinate visitors for hours. The large property is beautifully themed with many heritage style buildings and artefacts to give you a real feeling of what New Zealand was like years ago. There are some incredible vehicles on display from cars, trucks, planes, trains and trams, in-fact the tram is a working exhibit offering trips around the complex and to the nearby annex exhibition which houses many of the aircraft exhibitions. The site was once home to a huge pump which serviced Auckland’s water supply, today this incredible piece of Victorian machinery has been restored and is housed in an beautiful brick building looking more like artwork than a piece of machinery, it is really an incredible sight.  Motat also features a historic village with many small cottages all decked out with their heritage fittings and furnishings, they are very interesting and give you a real feel of how people lived years ago.

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The Star of India

The beautiful Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship and is the pride and joy of the San Diego Maritime Museum. Built in 1863 at the Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man the ship was one of the first built of iron and was originally called Euterpe. As the Euterpe it suffered a bit of tragedy with a mutiny, collision and a nasty cyclone off the Bay of Bengal. The ship was also used in bringing emigrants to New Zealand, Australia and the Americas from England, Scotland and Ireland. The vessel even had time as a salmon hauler working in Alaska. Today she is the second oldest ship what is still sail worthy and the oldest iron hull merchant ship floating. The ship has been declared a United States Historic Landmark and still sails a couple of times a year.

The Russian Concorde

A result of the cold war’s technology rivalry when the Soviet Union they copied many things the west made including the some pretty impressive technology including the Space Shuttle. Another of their copies was the Concorde, they produced a pretty similar supersonic get which they called the Tupolev TU-144. But they didn’t really pull it off to good and the plane was never certified to fly passengers. They had a bit of a media disaster at the Paris Airshow in 1973 where a TU144 fell out of the sky, break up and crash. They ended up using the plane for mail runs across Russia, then a second one crashed in 1978 followed by you guessed it a third a bit later and this was out of a fleet of 22 which included a prototype. The US ended up buying a few in the mid 90’s and refit them for testing of a future supersonic project. Today one of the remaining TU-144 is on display in Germany at the Auto & Technikmuseum at Sinsheim. Interestingly the craft is on display right next to a Concorde it is interesting to see how similar the aircraft are. For more information:  http://www.gizmohighway.com/history/tu-144.htm

The first Jumbo Jet

Back in February on 1969 The city of Everett made history as the first Boeing 747 to fly. This aircraft was the first flying prototype to what would become one of the most successful aircraft in history with over 1400 of them sold over the last 40 odd years in various variants. The aircraft now lives back in Seattle only miles from where she was built in Everett. The plane is part of the wonderful collection that makes up the Museum of Flight at King County Airport just south of Seattle. The old girl is looking a bit tired and weary these days but the future looks bright although it may be a little time off. The Museum of Flight plan to build a new annex where a restored City of Everett will take centre stage regaining her former glory. Currently the Jumbo is parked in a lot open to the public with a 707 US Air force 1 Presidential Plane and Supersonic Concorde close by.

The Lisa Marie- The King’s Jetplane


The Lisa Marie is a Convair 880 jet which was once owned by the King of Rock n Roll Elvis Presley. The plane about the size of a 707 was used by the king and his entourage to travel between Graceland and Elvis’s performances all over the United States. Unfortunately Elvis only owned the jet for a few years before his untimely death in 1977.

There are lots of legendary stories about Elvis and his plane but one of the favorite which gets told time and time again. Elvis was a bit hungry and needed his favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich to quench his hunger, the only problem was the best sandwiches were in Denver. So Ron Strauss his pilot flew the Lisa Marie from Memphis to Denver to pick up enough sandwiches for Elvis’s snacktime.

The airplane is part of the extensive Elvis collection on exhibition as part of Elvis’s Graceland mansion in Memphis Tennessee. The plane sits next to the Hound Dog II which is a smaller aircraft Elvis also flew in. Nearly quarter of a million people visit Graceland every year to celebrate the life and times of Elvis and the Lisa Marie Convair 880 is one of the more popular attractions.

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A grand old lady of the sea

Longbeach California just to the south of Los Angeles is the resting place of one of what was one of the world’s grandest ocean liners. The RMS Queen Mary sailed the seven seas for just over 40 years until she was retired in 1967. Today the 1019 ft long liner is docked at Longbeach and has taken on a new role as a museum, restaurant and hotel. Many of the original splendor of the Queen Mary is intact including magnificent art deco hallways, ballrooms and function rooms.  The ship also boasts some stunning artwork including a huge transatlantic map which stands in the first class dining room which had lit up and showed the position of the ship as it cruised from London to New York. The cabins are not as luxurious as you would expect in a modern liner, but they are charming, a bit small but have good comfortable amenities. The Queen Mary is a unique accommodation experience and a very fun place to stay for anyone planning to spend a few days in Longbeach, San Diego or Los Angeles.   Interestingly the Queen Mary was owned by Disney for a period in the late 1980’s there was talk of the ship being the centrepiece of what would have become a ocean themed park. There is a striking resemblance to the Queen Mary in Tokyo’s Disneysea.. Maybe the Tokyo Park might have come out of concepts for what might have been in Longbeach.

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Tokyo Week – Mirakan – Emerging Science Museum

robot
In the futuristic city of Odaiba across the Rainbow Bridge you will find the Mirakan or Emerging Science Museum. This interesting technology museum features some pretty incredible advances in science including their star exhibit Asimo, Honda’s humanoid robot. Asimo isn’t the only robot on display there are quiet a few including Mesci which can even guide people around the facility. Although most of the exhibits are in Japanese and very little English translations the exhibition Is easily understood by non Japanese speaking people with plenty of easy to understand displays and diagrams. Some of the exhibits include space travel including full size mock up of sections of the International Space Station, nano technology, health and transportation. The bullet train technology features heavily in the transport section with plenty of models and interactive displays for people of all ages to learn about emerging technologies and see what is in future in year to come.