The National Air and Space Museum will partially reopen with 8 revised exhibits


(CNN) – Attention air and space enthusiasts traveling to DC: your wait will soon be over.

From historic early flight to futuristic planetary exploration, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington will open eight newly renovated exhibits on Friday, October 14.

And if you want to be one of the first people to visit, be prepared to move quickly.

Timed admission tickets will be required and will be available online beginning Wednesday, Sept. 14, according to a Smithsonian news release. Entry will be free.

About half of the iconic building will reopen. Along with the eight updated exhibits, the planetarium, museum shop and Mars Café will open, the release said.

The project began in late 2018 with the closing of the first gallery, a museum representative told CNN Travel. Parts of the museum remained open to the public during the project until it was completely closed in April 2022 for the completion of the new west end galleries. The Smithsonian representative has predicted that the seven-year project will cost around 1,000 billion dollars.

The complete renovation includes “a redesign of all 23 exhibit and presentation spaces, a complete redesign of the exterior cladding” and other improvements, according to the news release.

“This is one of the most exciting times in the history of the National Air and Space Museum,” said Chris Brown, director of the John and Adrienne Mars museum, in another Smithsonian news release.

“As we open the first of the reimagined galleries, we hope all visitors will be inspired by the artifacts on display for the first time, as favorite aerospace icons are presented in new ways and tell different stories.”

Here’s a Q&A about how this works (all information courtesy of the Smithsonian):

What is the time for this?

The new Delta Sun Sculpture fountain base is tested on the southwest edge of the National Air and Space Museum on April 4, 2022.

Jim Preston/Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The appointment booking link will go live on Wednesday at noon. You will find it on the museum’s website (the link will be released that day).

Thanks to the September 14th release, people will have passes from October 14th to November 30th. Then, from October 28, people will be able to register for passes from December 1 to January 14. There will be two more versions on December 16 and January 27.

Are advance tickets only available?

no Along with the advance release of tickets, a limited number of same-day passes will be released each day beginning October 14th at 8:30 am ET.

“An individual will be able to book up to six daily passes for a specific entry time,” the news release said. “Every visitor must have a pass, regardless of age. To enter museums, visitors can show a digital time pass on their mobile device or a copy of the time pass printed at home.”

What’s in those 8 galleries?

This is a reproduction of the Destination Moon gallery at the National Air and Space Museum.

This is a reproduction of the Destination Moon gallery at the National Air and Space Museum.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Among the Smithsonian’s most anticipated “Destination Moon” exhibits, CNN Travel said, is the Apollo 11 Command Module along with Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 space suit. It will also feature an F-1 engine and Alan Shepard’s Mercury spacesuit and Mercury Freedom 7 capsule.

The “Nation of Speed” exhibit is new to the museum and will feature air and space artifacts and loaned artifacts such as Mario Andretti’s Indy 500 winning race car and Evel Knievel’s motorcycle.

Here is more information about the eight spaces:

“America by Air”: This exhibit traces the history of air transportation in the United States, and among the new displays will be a dusting of agricultural crops from the 1920s.

“Destination Moon”: The museum promises a “blockbuster” exhibition on its collection of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo artifacts.

“Early Flight”: This covers the period from the Wright brothers’ first flights in 1903 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, when aviation was still novel and exciting.

“Browsing the Kenneth C. Griffin Planets Gallery”: Learn how we’re exploring our other planets (and their interesting moons) in the solar system here.

“Speed ​​Nation”: This exhibition will be a crash course in our obsession with being the fastest, not only in air and space, but also on land and sea.

“A connected world”: Here, you’ll learn how airplanes, spaceflight, and satellites have truly made us “one world.”

“Thomas W. Haas We all fly”: This gallery will “explore many aspects of general aviation, from sports to business.”

“The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Air Age”: Immerse yourself in the world of Wilbur and Orville Wright and their revolutionary invention.

How do I get there?

The museum is located on the National Mall at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW. If you drive there, there are several shopping lots within walking distance. You can use ParkWhiz to reserve a space.

Do I have any other aviation museum options nearby?

yes If your trip to DC is before October 14 or you can’t secure a timed ticket online, the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until :30 p.m. except Christmas Day. Admission is free, but parking costs $15.

It displays thousands of artifacts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery and a Concorde, more than enough to scratch your airplane itch.

A ground-floor view of the Northrop T-38 Talon and Extra 260 at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Washington on May 15, 2022 (Smithsonian photo by Jim Preston)