Our selection of the world’s 10 coolest aviation museums; places where aviation history is brought to life through amazing collections and displays, combined with a great visitor experience.
1. Pima Air & Space Museum
The aircraft boneyards and storage airports of Arizona are a natural draw for aviation enthusiasts. Next to the massive Davis Monthan AMARG facility near Tucson is the Pima Air & Space Museum which preserves many important aircraft from the country’s history in particular.
2. Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum
Probably the best aviation museum in Germany (and there are plenty of good ones to choose from). As well as various other vehicles, many of the collection of aircraft on display here have the additional nuance of being mounted on poles high above your head. Despite this, you can still climb inside and experience them. It’s also the only place where you’ll see a Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 “Concordski” together.
One of the world’s largest aviation museums. Datanshan (it has various spellings) near Beijing houses hundreds of aircraft, both civil and military, in a large complex. They all relate to Chinese aviation history, with some unusual types like the Hawker Siddeley Trident represented.
3. Datanshan Museum, Beijing
4. Qantas Founders Museum
Dedicated to preserving the history of this Australian airline, the award-winning Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach includes various large aircraft, such as the Boeing 707 and 747. John Travolta’s Qantas liveried 707 will also join the collection.
5. National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC
Set over two sites, including the National Mall in central Washington DC, and the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles Airport, this is a very special collection. Among the exhibits include the original Wright Flyer from 1903, the prototype Boeing 707, the Spirit of St Louis, the Enola Gay and many more historic aircraft.
6. Duxford Imperial War Museum
An institution in the United Kingdom for aviation fans. This is a huge museum located on an active airfield (and former wartime site), with lots of important and historic types. Its airliner collection includes BAC 1-11, VC-10, Trident, Herald, Comet, Concorde and Bristol Britannia. The on-site American Air Museum also has lots of types which were based in the UK during times of war.
7. Aeroscopia Museum Toulouse
Aeroscopia is a relatively new museum which is part of the Airbus operation at Toulouse Blagnac airport in southern France. It highlights many of the aircraft types which have defined the French aviation industry, including both prototype and production Concorde models, Super Guppy, early Airbus A300, Sud Aviation Caravelle and lots more.
8. Museum of Flight, Seattle
Largely celebrating the history of Boeing (it is located at Boeing Field, after all), the Museum of Flight in Seattle is the place to go to see many important wartime, space and civil types. Includes the prototype Boeing 727, 737, 747 and 787, as well as a Concorde and Constellation. It’s also a great place to watch brand new airliners being tested on the adjacent runway.
9. Aviodrome Themepark
The Netherlands’ primary aviation museum, located at Lelystad an hour east of Amsterdam. It includes a huge Boeing 747-200(SUD) which was shipped here by canal! Various other aircraft, large and small, particularly focusing on Netherlands heritage – including Douglas DC-2 and various Fokker types.
10. Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
As the name suggests, this museum focuses mainly on military types. But some transport aircraft are including and, anyway, the museum includes one of only two airworth Avro Lancasters in the world. It regularly flies its aircraft and offers pleasure flights. Definitely worth a visit. You’ll find the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, ON.
Which is are favourite aviation museums? Leave a comment below.