The City of Santa Monica takes pride in their unique attractions and locals can be spoilt for choice in choosing a weekend activity. Aside from the world-famous beaches and renowned arts communities, the city is also home to several museums, each with a specific focus.
City Hall recently took steps to guarantee one of its cultural institutions, the Santa Monica History Museum and the Museum of Flying will remain open for years to come.
The Museum of Flying has served the City since 1979 and over the years the facility has shown community members and aviation lovers the history of aviation.
“The museum is unique in that it has many features and displays that chronicle the history of the Douglas Aircraft Company including authentic artifacts and exhibits of the company,” said Daniel Ryan, Museum of Flying Managing Director.
The museum features exhibits like the Early Aviation Hangar Bay. A place of the museum where visitors could begin their experience by seeing the Wright Flyer replica that was featured in the movie, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
“Visitors can view nearly 20 aircraft, aviation exhibits and artifacts, and a vast aviation at display including three very largely murals of aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company,” said Ryan.
Exhibits also include the Aircraft Display Gallery, an interactive area that features hands on activities for children with open cockpits in a Convair 240 nose section and a static cockpit trainer for a Lockheed T-33 aircraft. Visitors also get the chance to monitor the local control tower radio communications and enjoy a direct view to the runway of the Santa Monica Airport.
“The main audience is of all ages and background. Children ages 3 and older can gain knowledge, understanding, and education from visiting the museum,” said Ryan.
The Museum Screen room features aviation related documentaries, famous aviation themed films and historic footage during regular operating hours. The museum offers an outdoors aircraft display plaza situated directly in front of the museum, the display plaza has direct access to the airside of the Santa Monica Airport.
Earlier this month the City and the Museum of Flying have agreed to a long-term lease with an annual rent of $1 for five years with the option to renew for an additional five.
“The City of Santa Monica is fully committed to doing its part to preserve and celebrate our rich aviation history,” said Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis in a recent press release. “We expect the Museum of Flying will serve the community for years to come and will be a center piece as the airport fully transitions to parks, open space, recreation, education and cultural uses.”
In addition to its cultural/educational value, the museum has also functioned as an events venue for other organizations including firefighter cadet graduation.
In return for the rental fee, the museum has committed to continuing free tours for schools and allowing the City to use the facility four times per year for community events at no cost.
Ryan said, “The Museum of Flying is important to the City because it preserves, presents and educates the visitors on the Douglas Aircraft Company and the history of Aviation.”
The museum is currently on summer hours and open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information you can visit http://www.museumofflying.org/ .