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USA Museums:   San Diego * Albuquerque * New Jersey * Garden City *  Dallas (2)  * Sunnyvale * Pensacola * Lakehurst * Connecticut *  Ohio  * Washington DC * Chantilly *  Oregon

I have located only 14 museums in the US with an airship exhibit. If I encounter other museums in the USA which are verified to have an airship exhibit they will be included here. Sadly, though most museums with airship content are found on the US, the quality of the exhibits is fairly lacking.

San Diego: Air and Space Museum

The San Diego Air and Space Museum has a number of instruments from very early Zeppelins and a handful of pieces of L-31 are on display in the tiny little aviation museum. Also displayed is a very large and fairly accurate model of L-31. The color is wrong, but it's a beautiful model nonetheless.

San Diego Museum

Photo credit: Steve Prendergast

Website: San Diego museum

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 32.726892 -117.153735, in San Diego, California.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Albuquerque: Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

The Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum is designed to glorify the exploits of Maxie Anderson and Ben Abruzzo balloon and the great feats of the rigid and semi-rigid airships which significantly preceded them by almost a century receive but a "meh" at the museum. You'll find a cutaway model of the Graf Zeppelin there and that's about all, then it's back to balloons. Yawn.

Anderson Abruzzo Balloon Museum

Photo credit: Expedia

Website: Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 35.190117 -106.597918, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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New Jersey : Aviation Hall of Fame

Arrive here any time before Tuesday at 10AM or after Sunday at 4PM, and you fill face a locked gate! Said to have some LTA materials, including Hindenburg memorabilia. I found one small photo showing a display case with a model of the Hindenburg, and possibly the Shenandoah.

Aviation Hall of Fame NJ

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: Aviation Hall of Fame, New Jersey

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 40.852181 -074.055378, Teterboro Airport, Teterboro, NJ.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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East Garden City, New Jersey : Cradle of Aviation Museum

Tucked away at this museum is a wonderful memorial - a monument to the first crossing of the Atlantic by ANY aircraft! That feat was accomplished by the British R-34 Airship which launched from Scotland and landed in the US! But does the event merit a significant exhibit at this US museum? No. Sad. Few visitors even notice the monument (which is not even at its original location). Even fewer visitors discover that there is a matching monument in Scotland, the origination the R-34's record setting flight!

Cradle of Aviation

Photo credit: Sullynyfihi

Website: Cradle of Aviation Museum, New Jersey

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 40.728840 -073.597068, East Garden City, NJ.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

If you dare to look for it, (who knows in which corner the monument has been shoved, the museum never responded to my query on exactly where the monument is located), it looks like this:

R-34 monument

Photo credit: Michael Gray

There is a matching monument at East Fortune, Scotland, the origination of the record-breaking flight.

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Dallas: Frontiers of Flight Museum

From somewhere on the Internet: "The Balloons and Airships exhibit features memorabilia from historical events and fantasy in the first days of flight."

"It houses early items from the Hindenburg and Rosendahl Balloon and Airship days."

Said to have original Zeppelin items including the china service from the Hindenburg, the Radio Operator's chair from the Hindenburg, Admiral Charlie Rosendahl's diary of his trip around the world aboard the Graf Zeppelin, props from the USS Los Angeles & USS Shennandoah, the radio from the USS Los Angeles, a section of life raft from USS Macon signed by 40 survivors.

AFrontiers of Flight

Photo credit: michaelwtravels.boardingarea.com

Website: Frontiers of Flight Museum, Dallas, TX.

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 32.842303 -096.834910, Dallas, Texas.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Dallas: Eugene McDermott Library, Univ of Texas at Dallas

The Vice Admiral Charles E. Rosendahl Collection includes documents, photographs, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia related to the life and career in the United States Navy of Charles E. Rosendahl, his research and writing on global aviation, and the history and operation of rigid and non-rigid airships around the world. The collection is housed in 341 boxes, with additional items on shelves, wall display and oversized boxes.

Rosendahl display

Photo credit: Rick Zitarosa

Website: Vice Admiral Charles E. Rosendahl Collection.

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 32.842303 -096.834910, The University of Texas at Dallas, 800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Sunnyvale: Moffett Field Museum

The historic displays at the Moffett Field Museum will take you through Moffett Field over the years, beginning with building the world-famous hangars and on to the lighter than air era, the World War II period, use by both the Army and Navy.

Moffet Fireld Museum

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: Moffett Field Historical Society Museum

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 37.411480 -122.054432, Sunnyvale, CA.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Pensacola: National Aviation Museum

There are displays here about the USS Akron, USS Macon, USS Los Angeles, USS Shenandoah, and a control gondola restoration of the little known L-8 and the ZPG-2 Snowbird.

Moffet Fireld Museum

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: National Aviation Museum

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 30.348953 -087.304204, Pensacola, FL.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Lakehurst, NJ: Navy Lakehurst Heritage Center

Here is where the great airship activity of the early 20th century took place in the United States. This is the museum to see if you are in the US. Here the Hindenburg was hangared. Here the Hindenburg crashed. Here the USS Los Angeles, the Graf Zeppelin, the USS Shenandoah, the USS Akron and USS Macon were all serviced. You will be astounded that the museum is so poorly representative of US airship history.

Everyone wishing to take the tour must adhere to strict security requirements as this is a working US military base. All visitors must pre-register by calling 732-818-7520 or contacting navlake@prodigy.net. Due to Department of Defense Security Regulations, no foreign nationals may go on the tours.

All guests must be registered 2 weeks before the date of their tour. No walk-ins or additions to the group will be accepted on the day of the tour!

Hours: Nov-Mar 2nd Sat of month, Apr-Oct 2nd, 4th Sat of month, by appt.

Lakehurst heritage Center

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: Lakehurst Heritage Center

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 40.029258 -074.315655, Lakehurst, NJ, in the great hangar which once housed the Hindenburg, Graf Zeppelin, the USS Shenandoah, the USS Los Angeles, the USS Akron, and the USS Macon.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Connecticut: New England Air Museum

This museum reportedly features a section on "The Airship Era" and provides the story of the great German, British and American airships from 1900 through WWII. Exhibits include a nicely restored control car from a K-type blimp, a Packard engine of the type that powered the Shenandoah, a model of the British R-100 at a mast, a couple Hindenburg artifacts, and a photo timeline of Lighter-than-Air history.

New England Air Museum

Photo credit: Google Street View

Website: New England Air Museum

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 41.947180 -072.691757, Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Ohio: Shenandoah Museum

This museum located in Ava, OH is privately owned and operated. It contains artifacts and memorabilia from the 1925 crash of the USS Shenandoah. Since owner, Bryan Rayner, died in 2013, visitors should call in advance to see if the museum is open or to arrange a visit. US: 1-740-732-2624.

Shenandoah mobile museum

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: There is no dedicated website for the Shenandoah Museum, but some detail is found at Roadside America

The museum is located in the town of Ava, but as it is mobile, it does not have a fixed address. The museum is often parked across from the Shenandoah Memorial in Ave, to the coordinates given here are the coordinates of the memorial which is at (Lat Lon) 39.833237 -081.574209, Ava, Ohio.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Washington DC: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

This is the National Air & Space Museum (Smithsonian) of the United States. Though the Smithsonian has an extensive collection of airship artifacts, including a full-scale reproduction of the Hindenburg's gondola, it appears that none of it is on display. It seems that going to the National Air & Space Museum to see anything about lighter-than-air history will be disappointing. However, since exhibits change all the time at the National museum, it is possible that an airship exhibit may open in the future.

There also appears to be no airship exhibits at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia - the companion exhibit facility to the National museum in Washington DC. (See below.)

Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 38.888211 -077.019710, Washington, DC.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Chantilly, Virginia: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

This is the adjunct facility of the National Air & Space Museum (Smithsonian) of the United States. Though the Smithsonian has an extensive collection of airship artifacts, and two, massive exhibit facilities, there seems to be nothing found here or in Washington DC about airships.

Udvar-Hazy Center

Photo credit: Undetermined

Website: Udvar-Hazy Center

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 38.911149 -077.443144, Chantilly, Virginia.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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Oregon: Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook, Oregon

The main airship exhibit found here is the WW II era airship hangar itself! It is a former US Navy blimp hangar, called "Hangar B", built in 1943, which is the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world. A second hangar, Hangar A, was destroyed by fire in 1992. Hangar B is one of only 7 remaining (out of an original 17) US Navy WW II blimp hangars at 10 US coastal bases.

Tillamook Air Museum

Photo credit: Bill Welker

The hangar could hold 9 Navy K-class blimps as seen in this photo when the hangar held 8. The Navy operated the airships from 1943-1945. The blimps were used to surveil the ports in Oregon and Washington and the shipping lanes from California to the San Juan Islands, a 500-mile radius.

Blimps in Hangar

Photo credit: Tillamook Air Museum

The museum is operated on a shoestring budget and is in pretty much constant renovation. The inside of the hangar is poorly illuminated (2019) and both the interior and exterior are in need of a major face-lift to the tune of several million dollars - unlikely to happen any time soon! Nevertheless, the hangar is a sight to behold!

Museum Entrance

Museum Entrance. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Hangar B

Hangar B in 2019. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Inside, the all-wood construction is striking. It towers overhead arching over your shoulders, impossible to take it all in without craning your neck in all directions. This alone is worth the small price of admission!

Hangar B interior construction

Interior, all wood construction. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft displays dominate the museum's offerings, but there are a few interesting displays on airships. The facility's Helium pumping plant is still there in a side-room which can be viewed, another side-room holds an impressive display of photos of the Tillamook field from the era, including photos of the K-class blimps and construction of the hangars. The room includes some displays of artifacts, including a few, small artifacts from the Hindenburg.

Helium Pumping Station

Helium Pumping Station. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Hangar B under construction

Hangar B under construction. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Hindenburg artifacts display

Hindenburg artifacts display. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Hindenburg artifacts

Close-up of the unidentified Hindenburg artifacts. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Hindenburg artifacts

Close-up of the unidentified Hindenburg artifacts. Photo credit: Bill Welker

Hangar B interior construction

Thompson Model 28 "Alien Blimp" (N99T), Photo credit: Bill Welker

Above, the Thompson Model 28 "Alien Blimp", gifted to the museum in 1997 by its designer and builder James Thomson of Louisville, KY. Designed and constructed from 1980-1994, it was FAA certified in June, 1994, and first flew in August, 1995. The dismal state of the "Alien Blimp" today (2019), no tail-fins, no engine and gondola, fading paint, belies it's one-time beauty and flight readiness, seen in the 2004 photo below by John Shupek.

Hangar B interior construction

Thompson Model 28 "Alien Blimp" as it appeared in 2004. Photo copyright: John Shupek, https://www.skytamer.com/Thompson_28.html

Website: Tillamookair.com

The museum is located at (Lat Lon) 45.422027 -123.803171, 6030 Hangar Rd, Tillamook, Oregon.

The location of the location of the museum in Google Maps:

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