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Illustration of Wright Brothers wearing medial masks
Reopening July 1, 2020

After temporarily closing on March 15 to protect the health and safety of visitors, staff and volunteers, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, along with the National Aviation Hall of Fame, will officially reopen to the public on July 1.

While the museum is excited to reopen, our top priority is the health and safety of our visitors and our entire museum family. Therefore, we’ve carefully developed reopening guidelines following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the State of Ohio, local health experts and peer institutions across the country.

In order to achieve the highest public health standards, cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the museum, including an increased frequency in the disinfecting of high-traffic areas and surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are now available in each gallery and new directional signage is also in place. In addition, plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at all of the cashier stations in the Valkyrie Café, Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre, and simulator rides.

This page further explains the changes and safety measures or you can read the full News Release here.

Museum Information

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space.

Visitor Requirements

During the initial reopening phase, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force asks visitors to comply with the following guidelines:

Masks: We require the use of face coverings for all staff, volunteers and visitors (3 years and older). Visitors may wear their own masks or a free paper mask will be provided. Cloth masks will also be available for purchase in the Museum Store.  

Social Distancing: Please maintain a minimum distance of six feet from those outside your party while on the museum campus.

Sanitation: Hand sanitizers are available in the facility. Please use them and washing stations in our public restrooms. Cleaning will be enhanced throughout the museum.

Health: If you are not feeling well, have a fever, body aches or a cough, please visit another day. You can take our online virtual tour.

Check out this video with detailed information about changes made for reopening the museum.

Please note that CDC advises that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Guests should evaluate their risk in determining whether to attend. People who show no symptoms can spread COVID-19 if they are infected, any interaction with the general public poses an elevated risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
We cannot guarantee that you will not be exposed during your visit.

Closed areas

The following exhibits and areas are closed until further notice:

  • Sit-in cockpits
  • Walk-through aircraft
    (the Space Shuttle Exhibit will be open for touring)
  • WWII 8th Air Force Control Tower
  • Nissen Hut
  • Playground
  • Water fountains 
    Visitors may bring in a clear sealed water bottle (up to 20 oz), or purchase one from the Museum Store, Valkyrie Café or Air Force Museum Theatre concession stand.

Amenities

Picture of checkout station with plexi glass
The Air Force Museum Foundation amenities listed below will only accept credit or debit card transactions at this time.

  • Air Force Museum Theatre will be operating at 12% of its seating capacity. For films that require 3D glasses, a new pair will be issued with each ticket purchased.
  • Simulator Rides are open but visitors may experience longer wait times for rides as they are sanitized between each customer.
  • Valkyrie Cafe will be operating at 40% of its seating capacity and offer a limited menu. Fountain drinks, coffee, and ice from the self-serve drink stations will not be available.
  • The Refueling Cafe will remain closed at this time.
  • Museum Store will have queue lines marking 6 foot distancing.

Local Discounts - Aviation Pass

Illustration of a mock boarding pass with local organizations' logo on it.

The National Aviation Heritage Area has put together an Aviation Boarding Pass which includes discounts on admission, retail and theater experiences from aviation tourist destinations in the greater Dayton area. Click here to sign up for the free Boarding Pass to get discounts at our Air Force Museum Theatre and the Museum Store.

#StayLocalGoFar

Security Notice

All visitors may be screened with a metal detector upon entry. In addition, all bags are subject to search and may be placed through an X-Ray machine. Weapons are not permitted including pocket knives. Security staff will be wearing cloth masks, face shield and gloves.
  • Prohibited Items

    Prohibited Items:
    -  Firearms*
    -  Knives
    -  Box cutters
    -  Food
    -  Alcohol
    -  Coolers
    -  Backpacks

    * Firearms and other dangerous weapons are specifically prohibited in Federal facilities in accordance with 18 USC §930 (c)

    Permitted Items:
    -   Water bottles (clear, sealed bottle, up to 20 oz.)
    -   Purses
    -  Camera bags
    -  Diaper bags
    -  Strollers
    -  Service animals

    Please note the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is not responsible for items left in vehicles.
    Click here for frequently asked questions regarding items permitted inside the museum.

  • Visitor Photography Notice

    Notice: Visitors may be filmed, photographed or recorded by the U.S. Air Force for educational and promotional uses, including for posting on public websites and social media.  
    Individuals are permitted to take their own photographs or videos while touring the museum.

Upcoming Exhibits

Following is a list of upcoming exhibits at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Please note that the opening date is subject to change. Additional information will be added to the website closer to each exhibit opening.
 

Picture of the GPS exhibit in the shape of a satellite
 

Global Positioning System and Its Impact (Summer 2020)

The 700-sq ft GPS exhibit explains how GPS works to improve everything from personal navigation to banking, farming, science, construction and many other aspects of daily life. It shows how the Department of the Air Force manages this amazing satellite system that has changed the world since the 1990s. The exhibit also explains the problem of space junk and shows how satellite orbits work, and features videos and a GPS quiz game. 


Picture of DSP satellite on a trailer being pulled into a hangar at the National Museum USAF.
 

IUS-DSP Booster and Satellite: A Winning Combination

This exhibit explains how the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and the Defense Support Program satellite (DSP) worked together, outlining the vehicles’ history and functions. Both rode into space on huge rockets and the space shuttle, then the IUS boosted satellites like DSP into geosynchronous orbits more than 22 thousand miles above the Earth. IUS vehicles also helped NASA space probes to reach Venus, Jupiter, and the sun.



 

International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA) Exhibition (Summer 2020)

In partnership with the International Association of Astronomical Artists, a temporary exhibit called “The Beauty of Space,” is scheduled to open in late summer. This new exhibit will offer visitors awe-inspiring art of varying mediums created by artists across the country.




 

Flying the President (Summer 2020)

The 'Flying the President' exhibit will tell the story and display real artifacts from the air crews and maintenance personnel who transported the President of the United States on fixed-wing aircraft around the world." Opening in the August time frame, this engaging exhibit will ask (and answer) such questions as 'What music did American presidents enjoy?' and 'Were there really jellybeans on the aircraft?'

 




 

Women in the Air Force: From Yesterday into Tomorrow (Fall 2020)

This multi-part exhibit highlights women’s achievements in aviation, civilian and military, with emphasis on the USAF and its predecessors. This effort will add balance to what has been in the past a male-centric overall story, and make the overall NMUSAF heritage message more inclusive, complete, and meaningful to a general audience. The exhibit covers historical issues, changes in laws and attitudes, and women’s contributions. Specific women and groups from all eras and various career fields are noted to emphasize the impact women have played in establishing women’s current position in the Air Force.​

  • Reopening Questions
    • What is the anticipated opening date for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force?

    The museum is currently planning to open on July 1. The National Aviation Hall of Fame, co-located at the museum, will also open on July 1. 

     

    • Why is the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force not opening in June in accord with state guidelines?

    Although some Ohio museums are able to reopen sooner per state guidelines, the museum must follow Air Force restrictions on public outreach, which run through June 30. Additional time is also needed to fully prepare the museum’s more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space to meet the health and safety needs of our visitors.  

    • What is the museum’s plan to better protect the safety/health of visitors and staff?
      In order to achieve the highest public health standards, cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the museum, including an increased frequency in the disinfecting of high-traffic areas and surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are now available in each gallery and new directional signage is also in place. In addition, plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at all of the cashier stations in the Museum Store, theatre, café and simulator rides.

     

    All visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks during their visit to the museum, and all visitors should maintain six feet of separation between each visiting party at all times.


    Exhibits that will be temporarily closed include all walk-through aircraft, sit-in cockpits, space shuttle simulators, Eighth Air Force Control Tower, Nissen Hut and children’s outdoor playground. Interactive exhibits may be modified or removed in the near term. Daily guided tours will also not be available at this time.

     

    In addition, water fountains will no longer be available but visitors may bring in a clear sealed water bottle (up to 20 oz), or purchase one from the Museum Store, Valkyrie Café or Air Force Museum Theatre concession stand.

     

    The Valkyrie Café, Museum Store, Air Force Museum Theatre, and simulator rides will operate with new restrictions and will only accept credit cards. The Valkyrie Café will be open for up to 120 people at a time and offer a limited menu. Only bottled beverages will be sold – fountain drinks, coffee, and ice from the self-serve drink stations will not be available, and the Refueling Café located on the Cold War Gallery overlook will be closed.
     

    • Are masks required or recommended? If so, why?
      All visitors ages three and up will be required to wear masks during their visit to the museum.

     

    The Center for Disease Control recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to social distancing, frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important in the event that someone is infected but does not have symptoms. Therefore, according to current CDC guidance, cloth face covering should be worn whenever people must go into public settings.
     

    • Are face shields acceptable?
      The museum requires that all visitors must wear face masks during their visit. Shields are a bonus or addition to face cloth coverings as they are geared to protecting eyes, and do not decrease spray/droplet spread as well as face cloth coverings.

       

      I have medical issues and am unable to wear a mask. Can I still visit the museum?

      We’re glad you are interested in visiting the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force!  If you have health concerns and are unable to wear a mask at this time, you may wish to consider visiting at a time when there are less restrictions. To better protect our visitors and achieve the highest public health standards, we are following CDC guidelines on wearing a mask.
       

    • Are there any areas of the museum that visitors can go to without a mask?
      Yes, masks are not required in the Air Park and the Memorial Park.
       
    • Will cars be able to park as normal (closer than 6 ft apart)?

    Parking will take place as normal, but visitors may park farther away in any of the regular parking spots, if they are more comfortable doing so.
     

    • Will each person have their temperature taken?

    No, temperatures will not be taken.

     

    • How many people will be permitted in the museum at one time?
      The museum campus is quite large with over one million square feet. Based on the figures from previous years of attendance, we do not anticipate a need to limit visitors at this time.
       
    • Will there be restrictions on the number of people in a gallery?
      Gallery sizes are quite large. Based on the figures from previous years of attendance, we do not anticipate a need to limit visitors in each gallery at this time.

     

    • Will there be areas of the museum that will remain closed?
      Yes, all sit-in cockpits, walk through aircraft, space shuttle simulators, water fountains, Eighth Air Force Control Tower, Nissen Hut, and Refueling Café will all be closed. Interactive exhibits may be modified or removed in the near term.
       
    • How will the museum maintain social distancing?

    The museum theatre, simulators, café and store will be open with guidelines to limit the numbers of people and ensure proper cleaning between use.  There will be new procedures for entry/exit and one-way visitor flow as required. The cafeteria operation will be modified with limited seating of 120 people at a time and over the counter service rather than self-serve areas. Signage and graphics will be available throughout the museum to help visitors maintain social distancing. It is highly recommended that visitors of each traveling party maintain 6 feet of separation at all times.

     

    • What additional cleaning measures is the museum taking?
      Cleaning procedures have been enhanced throughout the museum, including an increased frequency in the disinfecting of high-traffic areas and surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are now available in each gallery and new directional signage is also in place. In addition, plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at all of the cashier stations in the museum store, theatre, café and simulator rides.

     

    • What should a visitor do who is feeling ill?

    Those who are not feeling well should approach the nearest volunteer/staff member and alert them of their condition.

     

    • What events does the museum plan to offer during the remainder of the summer and fall?
      In order to focus on its reopening, the museum will not offer public events in July. Open late nights on the first Thursday of the month will resume beginning in August (Aug 6) and the museum will also host a WWII traveling memorial in Aug. Upcoming events and exhibit information is available on the museum website at www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.

     

    • What restrictions will be placed on events?

    Group size limitations will be determined by Air Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base and State of Ohio guidelines. Social distancing and face coverings will be required.

     

    • Will public tours be offered?
      The museum will be open to visitors for self-touring, however, daily guided tours will not be available at this time. The museum will offer Plane Talks starting in September. For more information, visit the museum website at www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.
       
    • What new exhibits does the museum plan to open during the remainder of the year?

    New exhibits planned for the summer and fall will cover topics such as: GPS, IUS-DSP, Flying the President, Women in the Air Force, and an art display courtesy of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

     

    “Global Positioning System and its Impact! -The 700-sq ft GPS exhibit explains how GPS works to             improve everything from personal navigation to banking, farming, science, construction and many other aspects of daily life. It shows how the Department of the Air Force manages this amazing satellite system that has changed the world since the 1990s. The exhibit also explains the problem of space junk and shows how satellite orbits work, and features videos and a GPS quiz game.


    “IUS-DSP Booster and Satellite: A Winning Combination” – This exhibit explains how the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) and the Defense Support Program satellite (DSP) worked together, outlining the vehicles’ history and functions. Both rode into space on huge rockets and the space shuttle, then the IUS boosted satellites like DSP into geosynchronous orbits more than 22 thousand miles above the Earth. IUS vehicles also helped NASA space probes to reach Venus, Jupiter, and the sun.

    “Flying the President” - The 'Flying the President' exhibit will tell the story and display real artifacts from the air crews and maintenance personnel who transported the President of the United States on fixed-wing aircraft around the world." Opening in the August time frame, this engaging exhibit will ask (and answer) such questions as 'What music did American presidents enjoy?' and 'Were there really jellybeans on the aircraft?'

    “The Beauty of Space” - In partnership with the International Association of Astronomical Artists, a temporary exhibit called “The Beauty of Space,” is scheduled to open in late summer. This new exhibit will offer visitors awe-inspiring art of varying mediums created by artists across the country.
               
    “Women in the Air Force: From Yesterday into Tomorrow” -
    This multi-part exhibit highlights women’s achievements in aviation, civilian and military, with emphasis on the USAF and its predecessors. This effort will add balance to what has been in the past a male-centric overall story, and make the overall NMUSAF heritage message more inclusive, complete, and meaningful to a general audience. The exhibit covers historical issues, changes in laws and attitudes, and women’s contributions. Specific women and groups from all eras and various career fields are noted to emphasize the impact women have played in establishing women’s current position in the Air Force.   

     

    • What types of education programs will the museum offer?
      The Education Division is currently focusing on virtual visitors, who can access online educational activities such as lesson plans, word searches, coloring sheets and other items that can be done at home. The Division continues to evaluate its programming schedule. Please visit the museum website for the most up-to-date information on available programs.  
       
    • Will there be a charge for masks?
      A regular mask will be provided free of charge for those who do not have them. Visitors also have the options of bringing their own mask from home, or purchasing a cloth mask from the Museum Store.
       
    • What will the museum charge for bottled water?
      The Museum Store will offer 16 oz bottles for $1.50 (+ tax), and the Valkyrie Café and Air Force Museum Theatre concession stand will have 20 oz bottles available for $2.60 (+ tax). However, visitors may bring in a clear sealed water bottle (up to 20 oz).

     

    • Will the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) re-open when the museum opens?
                 
      Yes, the NAHF will open on July 1.

     

    • What restrictions will take place in the National Aviation Hall of Fame?
      For information on NAHF restrictions, visit www.nationalaviation.org

     

    • What will happen to the National Aviation Hall of Fame Enshrinement?
      The NAHF Enshrinement has been postponed. For additional information visit www.nationalaviation.org.

Contact Us

If you have questions not addressed on this page or the accompanying links, you can send an email to:

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Air Force Museum Foundation

National Aviation Hall of Fame

Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.

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