San Diego Air & Space Museum Celebrates 50...

San Diego Air & Space Museum Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence

Museum opened doors to public in 1963—publishes guidebook in honor of special birthday

San Diego, 2.13.2013

San Diego, CA - February 14, 2013 - The San Diego Air & Space Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary of opening to the public tomorrow, February 15th. In honor of 50 years of excellence, the Museum released its long-awaited guidebook, Celebrating: a History of the Museum and its Collections.

The Museum first opened its doors on February 15, 1963 in Balboa Park’s Food and Beverage Building. With a quickly growing collection, the Museum moved into the nearby Electric Building in 1965, where it remained until 1978, when a devastating fire destroyed the Museum and its contents. The Museum and the San Diego community came together and immediately began to rebuild and moved into the historic Ford Building in 1980, where the Museum resides today.

Today, the Museum is California’s Official Air and Space Museum, one of the four largest aviation and space museums in the country and home to the third largest aviation archives and library. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution (only two in San Diego), the Museum houses a collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft from all over the world, including a working flying replica of Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the actual Apollo 9 Command Module spacecraft and the only GPS satellite on display in the world. The Museum also offers interactive exhibits including MaxFlight® simulators, a 3D/4D theater, plus dynamic, hands-on and ever-changing special exhibitions. The Museum is comprised of a Gillespie Field annex that is home to various restoration projects and over 40 aircraft. Also, the Museum acquired the use of the historic and still operational wind tunnel on Pacific Highway where a variety of testing takes place.

The Museum recently opened Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, a special exhibition exploring the weird and wacky world of Robert Ripley. This is the first time a Ripley’s exhibit has returned to San Diego since the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935, the same year the Museum’s Ford Building was built.

In recognition of its 50th anniversary, the Museum released its new guidebook, Celebrating: a History of the Museum and its Collections. This illustrated guidebook not only shares the history of the institution, but brings to life the stories of its remarkable, one-of-a-kind collections. The book is available for purchase at the Museum or by clicking here.

“We are proud to carry on the tradition and legacy which was established by so many great people in 1963 to ensure our region’s air and space museum is the finest,” said Jim Kidrick, Museum President & CEO.

For more information, a complete history of the Museum and pricing please call (619) 234-8291 or visit

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California's official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Visit for more information. Now on display: Ripley’s Believe It or Not! a special exhibition exploring the weird and wacky world of Robert Ripley. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with admissions until 4:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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