Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Virtual tours are increasing in popularity, thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19), unfortunately.
Since many museums are temporarily closed, and those that are reopening are doing so with limited capacity, many of us have used social distancing as an opportunity to do some internet tourism.
It should come as no surprise that we are big fans of air travel, so you know that we have been busy scouring the internet for the best aerospace museums with virtual tours for you.
Get comfortable, because we are going to show you collections from all around the world with some of the most incredible aircraft in history.
Fans of extreme sports and aviation will love Red Bull Hangar-7.
This unique museum/hangar/restaurant/bar/lounge is home to many historical planes, helicopters, cars, and more at the Salzburg Airport in Austria.
If you are interested in Red Bull Racing’s fun history, explore the Red Bull Hangar-7 exhibits.
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is Canada’s national aviation history museum and is home to more than 130 aircraft and artifacts.
The collection, which highlights both military and civil service, is one of the most extensive in Canada and considered to be one of the finest in the world.
You can visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, courtesy of Google Arts & Culture.
The Musée de l’air et de l’espace (as it is known in France) is one of the oldest aviation museums in the world, dating back to 1919.
The 1,600,000 square foot (150,000 square meters) museum is located at the Le Bourget Airport, just 6 miles outside of Paris. The unique collection contains more than 19,000 items, including 150 aircraft, and exhibits from as far back as the 16th century.
Aviation Geeks will be excited to know that the prototype for the Concorde is located here. Head over to the virtual tour of the museum to see that and many more exhibits.
Located in Anklam, Germany, this small museum is dedicated to Otto Lilienthal, also known as the “Glider King.”
The museum highlights the life work of the flight pioneer with everything from his essays and documents to a large collection of his hang gliders.
Google Arts & Culture has put together a very well-done online exhibit of the Otto Lilienthal Museum.
The Polish Aviation Museum in Krakow is located at the old Kraków-Rakowice-Czyżyny Airport. When the airfield shut down in 1963, the museum opened in 1964 and is now known as one of the best aviation museums in the world.
The collection holds over 200 aircraft and 100 engines, including 22 very rare planes that were evacuated from the German Aviation Museum during World War II and are now in dispute between the 2 countries.
You can step inside some of these unique planes thanks to these 360-degree virtual tours.
One of the largest aviation museums in the world, with the largest collection of Soviet aircraft, the Central Air Force Museum is a must-visit for aviation fans in the Moscow area.
Home to 173 aircraft, 127 engines, Cold War-era American espionage equipment, weapons, instruments, uniforms, and more, visitors can spend the day at the museum and still have more to see.
While the museum itself is stunning (and home to an Antonov An-22), the website leaves a lot to be desired.
If you want to explore the Central Air Force Museum virtually, be sure to enable Flash player and translate from Russian.
The Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics is a museum dedicated to space exploration in Moscow, Russia.
Located in the basement part of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space, this museum holds over 85,000 different space-related items from Soviet and Russian space programs.
With over 300,000 annual visitors, it is certainly a popular museum. You can explore this unique museum online thanks to a Google Arts & Culture exhibit.
Originally founded in 1952 as a developer of aviation pressure suits and other aviation-related products for the USSR’s space program, this organization quickly became the leader in spacesuit research and development.
In 1960, the company started the design for the spacesuit that would be worn by Yuri Gagarin, the first human to journey into outer space.
You can visit this interesting online exhibit courtesy of Google Arts & Culture.
The Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Museo del Aire in Spanish) in Madrid consists of multiple hangars on the Cuatro Vientos Air Base highlighting and preserving the historical heritage of the Spanish Air Force.
With over 200 aircraft spread across more than 720,510 square feet (66,938 square meters), there is enough aviation history on-site to keep most enthusiasts busy for the entire day.
Virtually visit the Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics to learn more.
Aerospace Bristol is an aerospace museum project located in Filton, just north of Bristol, U.K.
Highlighting over 100 years of aviation history, including 2 world wars, visitors can explore the advancement of technology from the early days of flight to the modern-day space race.
A visit wouldn’t be complete without stepping on board the British Airways Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last of the iconic supersonic passenger jets to be built and the last one to fly.
Until you can visit in person, check out the rest of the exhibits at the Aerospace Bristol museum.
Imperial War Museums is a family of 5 museums in the United Kingdom showcasing the U.K.’s history in modern conflict.
The Duxford location is home to the large exhibits, including nearly 200 aircraft and other military vehicles.
To explore all of the museums in-depth from home, you can visit the Imperial War Museums, thanks to Google Arts & Culture.
Opened in 2003, Ukraine State Aviation Museum is one of the larger aviation museums displaying Soviet technology through aircraft display and interactive exhibits.
There is plenty of impressive hardware on-site and many aviation fans will recognize the Antonov name. Unfortunately, the An-225 is not on the property, but there are many other interesting aircraft to explore.
If you want to wander around the indoor and outdoor exhibit, explore the interactive 360-degree tour at the Ukraine State Aviation Museum.
The Air Zoo is an aviation museum and indoor amusement park founded as the Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum.
The museum is packed with interactive experiences, flight simulators, and rare exhibits, including the world’s fastest air-breathing aircraft, the SR-71B Blackbird.
While you will likely want to visit the museum in person if you are in the area, you can browse through the many exhibits on the Air Zoo website.
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She also set many other records, wrote books about her flying experience, and was instrumental in helping advance the opportunities for female pilots before she disappeared in 1937.
Currently, her birthplace of Atchison, Kansas serves as a museum to her and her accomplishments. Although the website could use some updates, it is a great place to learn more about her life and explore this little time capsule.
If you can’t make it to Atchison any time soon, be sure to visit the Amelia Earnhart museum virtually.
The Delta Flight Museum at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is a real treat for aviation lovers.
This non-profit museum is a designated Historic Aerospace Site and packed with history and aircraft which visitors can board and explore.
With everything from a Douglas DC-3 Ship 41 to a Boeing 747-400, the museum is a great resource for both Delta and aviation history.
If you are visiting from home, be sure to check out the 747 Experience.
The EAA Aviation Museum (formerly known as the EAA AirVenture Museum) is a museum located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin that is dedicated to the preservation of historic and experiential airplanes.
Sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the museum is home to over 200 aircraft and hosts air shows each summer.
Thanks to the EAA Aviation Museum’s interactive website, you can sit in some very unique and antique planes without leaving home.
This museum and adjacent waterpark have quite a collection of aircraft with more than 50 military and civilian exhibits, drones, and spacecraft. Unchanged: This museum (and adjacent waterpark) have quite a collection of aircraft with more than 50 military and civilian exhibits, drones, and spacecraft.
This carefully-curated museum is under new management who has big expansion plans, including the addition of a hotel. You will be sure to add this to your to-do list if you find yourself in Oregon in the next few years.
While the website doesn’t offer any interactive virtual tours, there is plenty of educational information about the collection — including Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules flying boat known as the Spruce Goose. There’s also a collection of virtual tours of the Evergreen Aviation Museum thanks to K Space Academy!
This 100,000 square foot (9,290 square meters) Smithsonian-Affiliate museum is a state-of-the-art facility near the Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) in Dallas, Texas.
Home to over 30 aircraft, including the Apollo 7 Command module, this is a very special exhibit.
Fortunately, if you can’t visit in person, Google Arts & Culture has put together a very comprehensive online tour of the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
Perhaps the most striking and recognizable American aerospace museum, the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum is an actual aircraft carrier (the USS Intrepid) located in the Hudson River in New York City.
Besides the fact that the ship itself is worth a visit, it is loaded with some of the world’s more incredible aircraft including the Space Shuttle Enterprise, a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12 supersonic reconnaissance plane, and more!
Browse the video tour gallery to get a closer look at the exhibits until you can visit in person.
If you are looking for a more personalized virtual tour experience, Lone Star Flight Museum is offering a private “walk and talk” experience via GoToMeeting.
Explore the historic planes in the hangar and “go behind the chains” and see parts of the planes that aren’t accessible during in-person tours.
Virtual Hangar Tours, perfect for distance learning and online field trips, last 1 hour and cost $100.
The Museum of Flight, just outside of Seattle, is the largest private air and space museum in the world.
Home to more than 150 aircraft, including a Boeing 747 and 787, a Concorde, multiple Lockheed fighter jets, spacecraft, and more, this is as close to Aviation Geek heaven as you will get.
NASA has some world-class facilities spread across the U.S. celebrating America’s adventures in space.
The Kennedy Space Center in Florida offers some excellent VR apps so you can experience the International Space Station (ISS) just like an astronaut, 360-degree rides on the moon in a lunar rover, and more.
In Texas, Aviation Geeks will love seeing the space shuttle on the back of a Boeing 747 at Space Center Houston in the Independence Plaza exhibit, but you can explore most of the exhibit (like the Apollo 13 mission) online.
You can explore any of the 14 NASA Visitors Centers from home.
Located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the United States Air Force (formerly the United States Air Force Museum) is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world.
Home to over 360 aircraft with exhibits highlighting wars throughout history and space travel, there is plenty to see here.
Fortunately, if you can’t make it to the museum any time soon, there are plenty of options to visit virtually. The museum has an excellent website full of virtual tours and 360-degree cockpit photos of many of its exhibits, including Air Force One.
The National Naval Aviation Museum is a military and aerospace museum located at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
This museum is devoted to the history of naval aviation, highlighting the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps.
The collection of aircraft on-site is nothing short of impressive with exhibits including former Blue Angels A-4 Skyhawks, the Curtiss NC-4 (the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic), and U. S. Coast Guard helicopters.
If you are a fan of military aviation, you will not want to miss the virtual tour of the National Naval Aviation Museum.
The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the world’s largest non-government funded aerospace museums in the world. The 127-acre campus in Arizona is home to nearly 300 aircraft inside and outside the multiple hangars.
Some of the highlights from the museum’s collection include a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the first prototype Boeing 777-200 (donated by Cathay Pacific), and the legendary Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
Be sure to browse through the aircraft directory, as there are plenty of rare and interesting pieces of history to check out.
The National Air and Space Museum is actually located in 2 separate locations. The main museum is in Washington, D.C., and the annex known as the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia.
Both locations operate as centers for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight. Almost all of the aircraft on display are originals, including the Wright brothers‘ Wright Flyer airplane, the Apollo 11 Command Module, and the Bell X-1 that broke the sound barrier.
The museum website is very extensive, as you can explore many of the exhibits online.
The Southern Museum of Flight is a civilian aviation museum home to nearly 100 aircraft, artifacts, models, and more.
Although not the biggest museum around, it has quite a unique collection including a Wright Flyer, an F-4 Phantom, Soviet-built MiGs, and the Lake Murray B-25.
Explore the exhibits from home and learn about pieces from the Korean War and more.
Located on the former Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is home to a very special collection of aircraft.
Although there is plenty of unique military and civilian aircraft on display, including the U.S. Air Force B-1A Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bombers, many come to visit the Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter, which is an autographed 3/4-scale replica of the aircraft flown by Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.”
Be sure to check out all of the fun exhibits.
Despite not being able to visit many of these museums in person due to COVID-19, we can still experience the magnitude of these impressive machines from the comfort of our own homes.
Aerospace technology has shaped our world, from the battlefields of wars to the luxury of travel and everywhere in between. Fortunately, many of the important milestones in the age of air travel have been preserved in these collections around the globe.
Grab a seat, warm up your mouse or VR goggles, and start exploring some of the most impressive aerospace museums on the internet!
There are aerospace museums located all around the world. From Austria to the U.S., aviation enthusiasts have collected some of history’s most famous aircraft and put them on display. Some of them even put their collections online, so you can peruse them from home! We’ve gathered the best ones here.
A virtual tour of an aerospace museum means that the existing (physical) museum has put their collection online for the world to see. Some museums use only single photos, while others use videos and 360-degree images to really allow guests to experience the space.
We have found hundreds of aircraft across dozens of museums that can be toured virtually. Everything from a Wright Flyer to a Lockheed A-12 Blackbird can be explored with the click of a button. Whether you are interested in military, civilian, or space aircraft, we have a virtual tour for you.
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