HomeThe MuseumMission & History

Mission & History

Our Mission

To inspire and educate, promote and preserve aviation and space history, and honor the patriotic service of our veterans.

While our aircraft, exhibits, and artifacts offer stunning examples of aviation achievement, we also strive to create an environment that not only teaches children, youth, and adults about aircraft, but also demonstrates the importance of human skills like mathematics, science, teamwork, determination, and perseverance.

History

Dreams of flight have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike for centuries. Founded in the memory of Captain Michael King Smith, our exhibits celebrate the lives of innovators, pilots, and veterans who courageously pioneered flight in these remarkable machines.

Captain Michael King Smith had a fascination with flight that began in childhood and continued throughout his short life. Captain Smith’s fierce dedication and passion for flying led to his dream of an aviation museum unlike any other – a living museum that celebrates aviation’s rich history, honors the patriotic service of our veterans and offers enlightening educational programs in aviation.

Education

Because education is at the core of our mission, we strive to make all of our exhibits and programs both inspiring and educational for adults and children alike. Whether you are a student, a flight enthusiast, or just passing through, we have a variety of opportunities – from guided tours to full educational programs – to ensure you get the most out of your visit.

Home to the Captain Michael King Smith Educational Institute, we are proud to offer a variety of flexible programs, all of which may be tailored to fit a particular group’s needs. In addition, we offer several scholarship programs and educational partnerships.

If you are an educator, please explore our teacher resources page to download learning tools and learn more about how we can enhance your class’ visit.

Veterans

Our museum seeks to honor the commitment and courage of veterans who have supported and defended the United States. Our goal is to educate our youth about the sacrifices veterans have made for us, while also honoring these heroes in a respectful and appropriate manner.