About College Park Aviation Museum
In addition to being the longest operating airport in the world and the site where Wilbur Wright – one of the Wright brothers – trained the first aviators, College Park Aviation Museum in Maryland is now a museum which explores the history of aviation, including during the World War One era.
History of College Park Aviation Museum
College Park Airport, where the Museum is based, was first established in 1909 as a training location for Wilbur Wright to instruct two military officers to fly in the government’s first aeroplane. Civilian aircraft began flying from the airport from as early as December 1911, making it the world’s oldest continuously operated airport.
College Park Aviation Museum in Maryland is based at College Park Airport, and first opened to the public in 1981, with the current museum building opening in 1998.
The museum houses both antique and reproduction aircraft associated with the history of College Park Airport. There is a 90-seat auditorium, interactive planes, flight simulators and displays, authentic photographs and newspaper articles, as well as artefacts that highlight the roles that aviators and aircraft builders alike undertook.
There are at least 10 full-size aircraft that are permanently on display.
The museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
College Park Aviation Museum Today
Today, College Park Aviation Museum holds a regular programme of events for the public, schools, and groups that cover everything from pollution and sustainability in the aviation sector to how air mail works.
The museum’s permanent exhibits will be undergoing a long-term renovation over the next decade to improve interpretation, accessibility, wayfinding, and interactives as well as the stewardship of artefacts under the care of the museum.
The Museum also prides itself on its representation of women and people of colour’s contributions to aviation, which can so often be overlooked.
Tour Guides are available to gain a deeper insight into the history of the location and the planes themselves. With the price of admission being only $5, the Museum is well worth a visit.
Getting to College Park Aviation Museum
College Park Aviation Museum is a 34 minute drive from the centre of Maryland, primarily along the MD-3 S and US-50 W roads. There is good free parking available.
For those who wish to expand upon their aeronautical and aviation knowledge, the Steven F. Udvar-Haze Center in Virginia – also known as Air and Space Museum – is under an hour away by car via the l-495 and VA-267 roads.