See for yourself

Next time you are waiting for a flight at your local airport, picture yourself standing next to a striking exhibit describing an important part of your community's history, the subject of local folklore. Or taking the controls in what was once the cockpit of an airliner, now long retired. Or learning about a local manufacturing firm's use of the airport while you are enroute to a business meeting. Or watching your children enjoy an aviation oriented playscape in the airline terminal that answers many of their incessant questions about the airport and its equipment.

There are endless benefits from aviation museums and aeronautical displays. They preserve evidence of what was once considered important. They educate. They provide people with a sense of the past and the airport's role in it. They predict the future and explain the need to sustain the airport so it can continue its mission of service. Displays and museums gain attention for aviation as almost no other form of communication can, outside of a perfect flight on a perfect day.

Airport museums can serve as the linchpin for bringing together diverse organizations -- historic groups and civic organizations, philanthropic corporate neighbors, local or regional government -- all to preserve a place in time, and to preserve a place called an airport. Events held at them or additions to their collections serve as publicity makers, generating positive stories about the facility and the airport where it's located. And aviation museums can serve as regional resource centers for aviation and space education curricula and programs, enhancing the missions of the surrounding school districts.

We found airport museums of all sizes throughout the country. And we learned of airport displays ranging from those on a wall or tabletop at local airstrips to those as elaborate as Syracuse's Hancock International Airport's comprehensive installation, which includes a wall of pictures and sound, pieces of airport equipment, and an actual 727 cockpit. Such exhibits gain the attention of young and old alike.

Visit the Museums/Displays section of the state pages to learn where airport museums are making a difference. Better yet, visit a museum yourself to gather some inspiration about why people who want to preserve aviation do what they do and to get a few ideas for your own educational display.

The Cockpit of this Boeing 727 never leaves Syracuse's Hancock International Airport. Learn about the components of New Jersey's shrine to its aviation heritage. It's all found in our Resources Section.