Museum of Flight

25 07 2012

Pioneer Pullman of the Air, Boeing 80A-1, Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA. Photo credit: JR

As you could probably tell from my Monterey Bay photo, most of my vacation had nothing to do with work or this website. Kayaking, hiking, running, watching Perry Mason…it was nice to get away from my job for awhile. We did make one stop worth mentioning here, though, when we joined a friend for a day at the Seattle Museum of Flight. Wow, has that place grown since the Red Barn first showed up on the edge of Boeing Field in 1983. The Great Gallery went up while I was a student at University of Washington and the museum has since added the Library and Archives Building (2002) and the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing and Airpark (2004) to its campus. We gave it a good effort, but left one wing (no pun intended) almost completely unexplored at the end of the day.

Many of the artifacts at the museum have some connection with the Pacific Northwest. I’m sure the fact that my father grew up in Alaska and never missed a chance to warn me about flying over glaciers had something to do with my interest in the Bush Pilots of Alaska exhibit (or maybe not, it was a damn good display). I’m also sure I drove my partner crazy with my ramblings on Seattle/PNW aviation history as we moved from aircraft to spacecraft. She probably didn’t need to be reminded that Richard (Dick) F. Gordon and I grew up in the same town or that I met Pete Conrad while studying at UW, but she was a good sport about it.

Catherine’s first EVA. Photo credit: JR

We gave most of our time and attention to the exhibits focused on space exploration, particularly the Space: Exploring the New Frontier section. Rendezvous in Space was also sweet and gave me the excuse to start talking about Pete Conrad and University of Washington again. I tossed out a couple of tweets while I was wandering around, but @rindsay beat me to the best one: Science is for gals in housecoats, too.

I know I’m supposed to be a crack architectural photographer, but I found the Great Gallery to be a tremendously challenging space. Everything, everywhere, is backlit and a fill flash doesn’t help much. So, while I managed to get a few good photos of the aircraft and exhibits, I didn’t manage many of the building itself.

Iron Annie, Beech C-45H Expeditor, Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington. Image Credit: JR

The Charles Simonyi Space Gallery, new home to the Space Shuttle Trainer (FFT), also threw up a few challenges to my camera, but I’ll get to those in my next post.



Observatories and Instruments