In 1964 a small group of aviation enthusiasts realized that important artifacts representing the evolution of flight were being lost or destroyed at an incredible rate. To aid in the preservation of these artifacts, the Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Foundation was established with the twin goals of saving significant aircraft and related artifacts and educating the public in terms of their importance.
It soon became clear 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, location of the 1962 World’s Fair. The concept for the Museum complex began to jell in 1975 when the Port of Seattle leased the land on which the Red Barn® now sits to the Museum for 99 years. The Red Barn®, the birthplace of The Boeing Company, was saved from demolition on its original location on the Duwamish River, and floated by river barge to its current location. It was restored in 1983 and became the first permanent location for the Museum. 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 and Airpark in 2004.
Parnership with the Perlan Project
Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson soared the Perlan I research glider to a new record altitude for gliders of 50,761 feet in polar vortex induced waves over El Calafate, Argentina on August 30, 2006. The Perlan I is now on permanent display at the Seattle Museum of Flight.