America’s Most Popular Museum Gets a Big New Facility
A IRPLANES ARE THE BIGGEST THINGS IN ANY MUSEUM That’s why the National Air and Space Museum, in Washington, D.C., as big as it is, isn’t nearly big enough. On December 15, 2003, it will multiply its space by opening a new museum annex, the Udvar-Hazy Center, at Dulles Airport in northern Virginia. Udvar-Hazy (named after its principal donor) will be 984 feet long and 10 stories high and will eventually hold more than 300 planes and spacecraft.
Historic craft have been arriving from all over the world. . In June, 2003, one of only five surviving Air France Concordes made a last flight from Paris to Dulles to take up residence. In August, 2003, the center unveiled the fully refurbished Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb (a historical first) on Hiroshima (in an apolitical display to avoid the controversy that thwarted its planned showing at the main museum in 1995). Other highlights are the original prototype for the Boeing 707 and a B-17 nicknamed the Swoose that flew bombing missions in the Philippines, Lingayen Gulf, and Borneo; its captain named his daughter after it, and she grew up to be the actress Swoosie Kurtz. The center will include not only hundreds of restored aircraft and space-craft hut also a hangar where the public can watch historic planes being restored and, for a decidedly unromantic view of where all that history leads, an observation tower for watching the planes at Dulles take off and land. For information, go to www.nasm.si.edu/nasm/ext.
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