The National Air & Space Museum Is Partially Reopening After a 7-Year Renovation

The D.C. museum is offering eight new exhibitions in its reopening. Free timed-entry passes are now available.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC is ready to reopen half of its main display building after receiving a facelift. Starting Friday, October 14, museum guests can explore eight new and renovated exhibitions, along with an updated planetarium and museum store.

The seven-year renovation plan began in 2018 with the intent to redesign all of the museum's 23 exhibitions and presentation spaces, as well as its exterior facade. Although only half of the building will be reopening, there’s still plenty to see.

The Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, will be on display in a climate-controlled case as the centerpiece of the new "Destination Moon" exhibition. Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit will be displayed right alongside it.

Taking it further back in time, the 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer will be displayed in an all-new environment that "better tells the story of the invention of flying and its implication on world history," according to a museum press release.

The newly renovated space also features famous fictional spacecraft, perhaps most notably an X-Wing Starfighter that appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, on loan from Lucasfilm. The massive spacecraft will be displayed just outside of the planetarium.

Speaking of which, the starry space has been updated to include new screencast abilities that will allow it to connect with planetariums around the country.

Guests interested in visiting will have to grab a timed-entry pass, which are available to reserve for free and opened up to the public earlier this week. To reserve a pass and learn more about all eight newly renovated exhibits, visit the museum website.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.