The Frontiers of Flight Museum is an aerospace museum located in Dallas, Texas, founded in November 1988 by William E. Cooper, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Jan Collmer. Originally located within a terminal at Dallas Love Field, the museum now occupies a 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m2) building at the southeast corner of Love Field on Lemmon Avenue. The Museum is an affiliate within the Smithsonian Affiliations program.
The Frontiers of Flight Museum, introduces visitors of all ages to the rich diversity of aviation and space flight history. The Museum’s mission is to educate, motivate, and inspire the next generation. Housed in a state-of-the-art 100,000 square-foot facility near Dallas Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas, the Museum houses over thirty aircraft and space vehicles. Come see the one-of-a-kind Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake,” the Apollo 7 Command module, and thousands of supporting artifacts and flight-related memorabilia.
Experience the stories of aviation and space flight – from the Wright Flyer to the one-of-a-kind Flying Pancake; the Apollo VII spacecraft, 13 historical galleries, and over 35,000 artifacts; the Living History program and our acclaimed STEM education program. The Frontiers of Flight Museum is the perfect place to explore the history and progress of aviation as mankind continues to pursue going higher, faster and farther.
In 1963, George Haddaway, a noted aviation historian and the publisher of “Flight” magazine, donated his enormous collection of artifacts and archival materials to The University of Texas. This “History of Aviation Collection” was moved from Austin to The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) in the late 1970’s. In 1988, because of problems with public access and space limitations, UTD and Mr. Haddaway forged an agreement with a group of Dallas leaders to make possible the display of part of the collection, in particular most of the physical artifacts at an off-campus site. With the leadership of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, the late William E. “Bill” Cooper, and Jan Collmer, the Frontiers of Flight Museum was formed in 1988 as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. The City of Dallas agreed to provide space on the mezzanine level of the main terminal building at Love Field. With donations from corporations, individuals, and foundations, exhibits over 5,500 square feet were made available to the public in June 1990. For several years the museum also sponsored popular air shows at Dallas Love Field, but these were discontinued in the early 2000’s as traffic increased at Love Field.
The public’s enthusiasm for the Museum and its desire to see more aircraft close-up, along with the increasing attendance, prompted the leadership to embark on an ambitious plan to build the Museum that stands today. A State Transportation Enhancement grant of $7.2 million, along with required matching private gifts of over $2 million enabled construction of the 100,000 square foot Museum, and the new facility opened in June 2004.
Currently, over 30 aircraft and extensive display galleries draw aviation buffs, schools, family members to the museum. Popular collections include early biplanes, historically important military and general aviation aircraft, the World War II exhibit, the extensive history of Southwest Airlines exhibit area, numerous commercial airline artifacts, the iconic Chance Vought V-173 Flying Pancake” and the Apollo 7 command module. Visitors can take a chronological walk through the development of human flight from the Leonardo da Vinci parachute to space exploration.
Military, commercial, and general aviation as well as space flight are represented at the Museum. The Museum’s working relationship with the History of Aviation Collection at UTD allows access to UTD’s world-renowned aviation collections. As an official affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Frontiers of Flight Museum is able to draw major traveling exhibitions.
Aviation historian George E. Haddaway promoted the founding of the museum subsequent to donation of his extensive personal collection of aviation history books, journals, photographs, as well as archives to the University of Texas at Dallas as the nucleus of one of the world’s finest aviation collections, the History of Aviation Collection.
The museum features an extensive collection of aviation history artifacts and vehicles, and focuses on the history of aviation and space exploration with an emphasis on the role of the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Exhibits include the Apollo 7 Command Module; a World War I Sopwith Pup biplane; artifacts from the German airship Hindenburg and other airships; and over 200 World War II aircraft models.
Examples of the genius of aviation’s Early Flyers such as the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss are on display, including a full-size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer.
Lighter Than Air
Rare artifacts from the famous airship Hindenburg and other giant dirigibles are featured in the Lighter than Air gallery.
The Golden Age
The Golden Age 1919-1939 gallery highlights the stories of Charles Lindbergh, Bessie Coleman (the first licensed African-American aviator) Richard Byrd (Arctic and Antarctic explorer), Amelia Earhart, “Jimmy” Doolittle and many other famous flyers.
World War and Cold War
In the World War I, World War II and Cold War galleries, unique artifacts and scale models of historic military aircraft tell the stories of America’s major conflicts in the Aviation Age.
In observance of the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, the Museum presents a temporary exhibit about the conflict, “America in the First World War,” opening on April 6, 2017. The exhibit features numerous original artifacts as well as large-scale models of significant aircraft, both with and without their fabric covering.
This immaculately-restored example of the iconic biplane was used to trained thousands of pilots for World War II. Also known as “the Yellow Peril,” the PT-17 first flew in 1934. Over 10,000 were built through 1945, and over 1,000 are still flying today. It was used by the Army Air Corps, the Navy (under the designation N2S), and the Royal Canadian Air Force, where it was given the nickname “Kaydet.”
What may be the largest collection of museum-quality scale model aircraft in Texas is now on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Crafted by Master Modeler Al Duval.
Designed as a long range heavy night bomber capable of attacking targets in Germany, the British Vickers “Vimy” flew for the first time on November 17, 1917. This large scale detailed radio controlled Vickers “Vimy IV” model was installed August 2015 and is on loan to the Museum from Master Modeler Jerry Burpee of Plano, Texas.
In spite of adversity and limited opportunities, African Americans have played a significant role throughout U.S. military history. Their accomplishments are displayed in the Tuskegee Airmen gallery.
In the Space Flight gallery, the Apollo VII spacecraft and the only Moon rock on display in North Texas anchor an extensive collection of artifacts with a full-size reproduction of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik I flying overhead.
The Space Flight Gallery incorporates two major artifacts from Texas-based Beal Aerospace – a pioneer company in the field of privately-funded space exploration.
On the north end of the building, The Heart of Our History gallery details the story of Dallas’s own Southwest Airlines, featuring a complete Boeing 737-300 aircraft and the nose section of an earlier 737-200, both accessible to the public.
The Love Field gallery showcases nearly 100 years of military, commercial, corporate, and private aviation history that defined this airport, which at one time was the world’s tenth busiest.
The Braniff Gallery will (re)open on August 19, 2017 with extensive additions. The gallery traces the history of one of America’s most colorful airlines from its humble one-aircraft beginnings in 1928, through its worldwide expansion through the 1960s and 1970s, to its final flight in 1982.
The Virgin America exhibit, unveiled August 2015, tells the story of the airline’s entrance at Dallas Love Field. The exhibit includes the original “Love Letter to Love Field” written by Sir Richard Branson, photographs from the airline’s launch festivities at Love Field on Oct. 13, 2014, and video highlights of the airline’s eight-year history.
From early flight to modern space exploration, the Museum offers a unique learning environment for students of all ages. Our education programs are designed to apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles to the area of aviation and space flight through guided museum tours and classroom educational programs.