What’s your favorite aviation museum besides the “big ones”?

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Bravo52

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Do you have a favorite aviation museum that is not one of the big ones like the Air Force museum or the Smithsonian? I love the Pensacola Naval Air museum but I’m thinking smaller, maybe out of the way type museums like the Stanford Air Museum in Ok. Doesn’t have to be military. Thoughts?
 
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Le Bourget. Back when I was a frequent visitor, you more or less had to be a francophone to navigate it, but according to @SnapRoll all the placards now have English translations. (Also, back when I was a frequent visitor, I had to be kicked out at closing time.)

With the annexes allowing much more room for display, the Smithsonian is now more like Le Bourget, but if you'd asked me in the early nineties, having lived in D.C. only a few years before, I would have put Le Bourget far ahead in terms of the breadth of the hardware displayed (and also the access to it) vs. the Smithsonian's location on the Mall. Of course a lot has changed since then for the Smithsonian, for the better. And even then, the Smithsonian may very well have held the edge in terms of its archives, I wouldn't know. Not being an accredited historian I never got anything more than a brief tour of the Smithsonian archives, but I expect it would be easy to lose years in them.

Kansas Cosmosphere is also a treat, though heavily biased to the "space" side of "aerospace." It's a great space museum. On the "aero" side, they do have an SR-71 . . .

I hope to visit the Air Force museum in the next few years. A friend was there a month ago and was amazed by it.
 
Oklahoma has a strong astronaut and pilot history. Here's two great places. Both have Saturn V engines! And much more!


STAFFORD AIR & SPACE MUSEUM​

The Stafford Air & Space Museum is named in honor of Weatherford native and legendary test pilot and astronaut, Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford. The museum is considered one of the finest and most comprehensive air and space museums in the central United States and encompasses 63,000 sq. ft. of exhibits under one roof! The museum is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian.

The museum is located along Route 66 at I-40 and Exit 84 in Weatherford, and welcomes visitors seven days a week, 360 days a year.

https://www.staffordmuseum.org/

Science Museum Oklahoma is home to over 390,000 square feet of hands-on science experiences, art, and history!

https://www.sciencemuseumok.org/exhibits
 
Another vote for Le Bourget, a short 30 minute bus ride from downtown Paris. Where else can you get to walk on Concorde, Prototype #001? They also have a 747 that has been sectioned so you can see how it hangs together. Did I mention an Arian 5 rocket you can walk under? Amazing exhibits, including the contemporaries of the Wright brothers, but their French counterparts.

If you are ever in Melbourne Australia you can visit the Australian Aviation Museum. Many great exhibits, and you can actually sit in most of the cockpits.

Also just out of Melbourne is the Point Cook RAAF Museum. You need to show your ID on entry to the air force base, but the museum is worth the effort. There is a Thunderbird missile on display, on its launcher, as well as many exhibits inside the hangers. There is even a Storepedo, a device invented by my Dad's uncle, to be able to drop fragile supplies to troops during WW2. Dad made the dies for the original prototypes when he was 19 or 20.
 
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The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Lots of helicopters, prop planes and jets along with some space items. Great displays and some hulks sitting outside awaiting restoration.

Also, the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum in Hammondsport, NY. A tribute to an early pioneer in float plane design and lots of other non-aviation items. A nice place to take a break from visiting wineries.
 
Evergreen, in McMinneville, Oregon... they have an SR-71, one of its drones, and Howard Hughes' H-4 Hercules... Yup... The actual "Spruce Goose"... If only they could get the EF-111A (tail # 042), and the F-111E tail # 077.
 
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Valiant Air Command it Titusville FL is tiny but had some cool exhibits when I was there many years ago.
I never got to it when I lived in Philadelphia but the American Helicopter Museum was well spoken of.
My Dad really liked the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo Michigan too
 
I second Evergreen in Oregon. A great museum.

Pima in Tucson AZ is great.

The Imperial War museum Duxford UK was great in the '80s

The Castle AFB Museum

Le Bourget is on the short list to see, I want to see the Trident.

Santa Rosa aviation museum. A small museum, but nice one. And not just because it has a plane I flew.
 
Evergreen, in McMinneville, Oregon... they have an SR-71, one of its drones, and Howard Hughes' H-4 Hercules... Yup... The actual "Spruce Goose"... If only they could get the EF-111A (tail # 042), and the F-111E tail # 077.
While in Oregon might as well visit the Tillamook Air Museum on the coast. It’s located in a WWII blimp hanger.
 
There was a "warbirds" museum in Florida, near NASA, they had a working C-47 you could get a ride in and they'd fly you over the NASA facility, and you could look down on the VAB. Pretty cool. We have a pretty good little Museum of Aviation out on Long Island's south shore, near Babylon. Ironically, I live right next to Teterboro, and they have a museum, but I've never been to it. There's a "History of Spaceflight" near Alamogordo NM that I'm planning to visit when I get some free time... And of course, I have been to Dayton and that was Mind-blowing -- much bigger than Smithsonian. I don't think you can do Dayton in a single day and take it all in.
 
Other than the big ones, I'll throw my recommendation to what we call the MAPS museum, or the Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) Air Museum alongside the Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) and whatever Air Guard unit is currently there. Their displays are worth your time and they do a lot of work locally with the VA, with scouting, and other groups, both youth and adults.

https://mapsairmuseum.org/
 
The Canadian Warplane heritage Museum in Hamilton (featuring 1 of the 2 only flying Lancasters)
And features a number of "pick a seat flights in some WWII planes!

https://www.warplane.com/

The Canadian Air & Space Museum in Ottawa is always a "must see"!!
See parts & pieces of the CF105 Avro Arrow!

https://ingeniumcanada.org/aviationhttps://ingeniumcanada.org/sites/de...-Visitor-Guide-aircraft-on-display-2023_0.pdf

While not great or big, this is down the road from me. A few planes, but a lot of artwork & history about availation Montreal / Quebec..
(And I should become a member to help with the restoration projects!!)
https://www.mam.quebec/discover-our-museum-2/
 
My daughter and I recently went to National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs and it was pretty good.
Last week my daughter went to Portland for business. She had extra time and planned to do some sightseeing but it was bad weather. I told her to drive to see the Spruce Goose. That turned out to be a pretty good museum. It didn't have much rocketry stuff of interest except a V2 but besides the Spruce Goose it had a Me262, an SR-71 Blackbird, a couple of MIGS. She was happy she went.
 
Do you have a favorite aviation museum that is not one of the big ones like the Air Force museum or the Smithsonian? I love the Pensacola Naval Air museum but I’m thinking smaller, maybe out of the way type museums like the Stanford Air Museum in Ok. Doesn’t have to be military. Thoughts?
NAS Pensacola is a good one. I really liked the Wendover, UT airport/living museum. We took a side visit at LDRS 39. That is where the B-29 crews that dropped the atomic bombs trained for the missions. The guided tour of the airport/historic buildings was well worth the small fee.
 
Locally, Evergreen is pretty spiffy. Pay the fee to get inside the Spruce Goose as it's pretty cool.

I remember touring Wright Patterson as a kid and was impressed. They had a SR-71 on display back then and it was the first time I had seen one....they were still being flown daily.

Huntsville is good for rockets.

Was in the UK this summer and had tickets to the RAF museum on Armed Forces Day.
Priorities got shuffled that day and I missed it - looked awesome.
 
How about the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, OR.
They regularly fly all the aircraft in the collection.
 
Been there and it's great!

Mostly pre WW2 planes, really nice old cars.
 
Flying Heritage and Combat Armor Museum in Everett WA
Fagen Fighter Museum in Granite Falls MN
 
I like our Military Aviation Museum here in Va Beach, VA. We (SEVRA) host scout builds and launches there. When they acquired the Goxhill Watch Office, they asked us to reproduce a dozen Signal Rockets (1lb Mk3). We provided 11 static display rockets and one flyable one (non-pyrotechnic, with recovery)
 
The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. Lots of helicopters, prop planes and jets along with some space items. Great displays and some hulks sitting outside awaiting restoration.

Also, the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum in Hammondsport, NY. A tribute to an early pioneer in float plane design and lots of other non-aviation items. A nice place to take a break from visiting wineries.
Curtiss museum in Hammondsport is worth a visit, also close to alot of nice wineries.
I keep meaning to get to the Curtis, since it's only 16 miles from home. It also has a lot of motorcycle displays, as Curtis was also a pioneer in that field. And, it's not only wineries; the area has a lot of breweries and distilleries as well. You can hire a limo service to be your designated driver (as I learned from a chatty driver on my way to the airport in Rochester).

I like the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, but only because it's my club's launch site :). Meaning no disrespect, perhaps I should say "only because...", but it wouldn't be worth more than one visit otherwise.
 
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