A Spark of Passion

In 1964, a small group of aviation enthusiasts realized that important and historical artifacts representing the evolution of flight were being lost or destroyed at an incredible rate. To aid in preserving these artifacts, the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation was established to save significant aircraft and related artifacts to educate the public about their importance.

A Place to Set Up Shop

It soon became apparent that a place to store and exhibit these artifacts was needed, and in 1965 the first official Museum of Flight exhibits were put on display in a 10,000-square-foot space at the Seattle Center, the location of the 1962 World’s Fair.

A New Beginning

The concept for The Museum of Flight complex began in 1975 when the Port of Seattle leased the land on which the Boeing Red Barn now sits to the Museum for 99 years. The Red Barn, the birthplace of The Boeing Company, was saved from demolition in its original location on the Duwamish River and floated by river barge to its current location. The Red Barn was restored in 1983 and became the first permanent location for The Museum of Flight.

A Bright Future

The Red Barn was eventually joined by the Great Gallery in 1987, the Library and Archives Building in 2002, and the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing in 2004, The Charles Simonyi Space Gallery in 2011, and the Aviation Pavilion in 2016, The Museum of Flight continues to expand our exhibits, experiences, and educational programs—paying homage to the history of flight and inspiring the entertainment and education of generations to come.