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The World’s 10 Coolest Aviation Museums

by Matt Falcus
wright flyer

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

Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum

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.

3. Datanshan Museum, Beijing

datanshan museum

By calflier001 [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

4. Qantas Founders Museum


VH-XBA (c) 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

wright flyer

The original 1903 Wright Flyer on display in Washington.

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

XJ824 at Duxford

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

Toulouse Airbus Tours

The Aeroscopia Museum at Toulouse where Airbus tours depart.

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.

[Where to Spot at Toulouse Airport]

8. Museum of Flight, Seattle

aviation museums in 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

Inside the former KLM Boeing 747 at Aviodrome.

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.

[Read our report – A Trip to the Aviodrome Musuem, Lelystad]

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.



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Randall Peasley May 21, 2018 - 5:11 pm

For my taste, the best is Duxford, followed by the Museum of Flight Seattle and Pima Museum. Unfortunately I’ve not seen the European museums.

krasnimish May 23, 2018 - 11:15 am

Not on this list but an absolute must see is the Aviation Museum of Ukraine close to IEV. See http://aviamuseum.com.ua/en/. I love this open air museum which is particularly evocative when there is snow on the ground but is fabulous all year round. Whilst visiting I also did a return hop to Odessa on the Motorsich AN140-100. Fun all round

SZE CHEONG May 23, 2018 - 11:26 am

In Japan I feel the best aviation museum is the Kanoya Naval Aviation Museum in, Kanoya.

Lennart Berns May 23, 2018 - 11:55 am

Strange the Swedish Air Force Museum is not on the list. Orginal aircraft from 1910 onwards … Only Junker Ju 86K, Regiane 2000, Caproni C313Thulin G etc in the world. Latest on display is JAS 39B Gripen.

Jeremy D. Dando May 23, 2018 - 12:23 pm

I think the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, OH should have been in the top ten. Amazing aircraft, great people, free admission.

Dave Wells May 23, 2018 - 12:39 pm

In order for me to visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum I’m going to need to know more than that it’s in Canada. Is it near a city perhaps?

Matt Falcus May 23, 2018 - 2:47 pm

Good point Dave! I’ve added that detail to the page.

Michael Cahill May 23, 2018 - 3:25 pm

Very good selection however I strongly recommend the Evergreen Mueseum in McMinnville Oregon near Portland. The “Spruce Goose” is there as well as the SR-71. Of particular interest to airline enthusiasts are Boing 747 N482EV formerly N729PA Pan Am Clipper Wild Wave on static display in front of museum. Additionally Boeing 747-100 N481EV formerly N481PA Clipper Seaman’s Bride sits atop a water park where one can actually ride thru the aircraft on water slide. The museum is spotless and well maintained. Finally if you fly thru Portland the rooftop parking is well positioned between runways 28R and 28L for outstanding photo opportunities. Volcano Mt. Hood provides an excellent backdrop for the photos.

Michael Cahill May 23, 2018 - 3:29 pm

Correction to earlier comment. N481EV the 747-100 example at Evergreen Air Museum was registered N902PA while flying for Pan Am. My apologies.

Matt Falcus May 23, 2018 - 4:43 pm

Thanks Michael, great tip!

Malcolm Judge May 23, 2018 - 7:32 pm

Actually N482EV at McMinville is a 747-212B that was originally registered as 9V-SIB and delivered to Singapore Airlines in Aug 1973. Did many loadplans for it operating pax services out of LHR until it left SQ in 1980. See excellent website Planespotters.net for full service history
Agree the museum is excellent!

MERVYN CROWE May 27, 2018 - 3:42 am

Two other great aircraft museums in Australia are, the RAAF Point Cook one a mere 40 minute drive from Melbourne, mainly military but a few civil as well. The HARS museum at Illawarra airport, an hour south of Sydney ( near city of Wollongong) is more of a living/flying museum with most aircraft flying.
Includes Super Constellation, DC-4, DC-3s, Caribous, Neptunes, Catalina to name a few and a walk through recently retired QANTAS B747-400 ( VH-OJA). Worth at least 2-3 hours, and many aircraft out on the apron for great photography, and yes you are allowed out on the apron with the guide!

Kevin Sparrow June 4, 2018 - 7:31 pm

Can I through in the Aeromusem at Gothenburg, it’s all underground, the ultimate man cave!

Kevin Sparrow June 4, 2018 - 7:31 pm

Sorry add, was on a conference call when first typed this!

The British Airliner Collection at Duxford - Airport Spotting Blog September 25, 2019 - 9:46 am

[…] the Imperial War Museum at Duxford near Cambridge is undoubtedly one of the greatest aviation museums in the world, covering the history of flight from the earliest days through war and conflict to […]


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