Whether you are traveling in the U.S. or having a staycation this Saturday, be sure to include some culture. September 28 is Museum Day Live! (aka Free Museum Day), when museums all over the country open their doors without charging admission.
The annual event is inspired by the Smithsonian museums, which offer free admission every day. You’ll have to register and download your free ticket in advance, which will get two guests in free to participating museums.
A few of our favorite museums participating:
Chicago Smart Museum of Art
The University of Chicago’s art museum is always free, but this weekend is also the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and museum-goers can also enjoy free concerts in the sculpture garden.
Dallas/Ft. Worth American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum
Regular price: $7 adults
Serious airline nerds, frequent flyers and those on a long layover can check out this museum of aviation and American AIrlines history, just a few miles from DFW airport. Exhibits include a rare Douglas DC-3 plane.
Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame
Regular suggested donation or gift shop purchase: $5)
What’s Sin City without a little strip tease? See costumes, props and photos documenting the history, traditions and stars of burlesque dance. Los Angeles Grammy Museum
Regular price: $12.95 adults
Pop music lovers can check out four floors of music exhibits and memorabilia. The current exhibition features the career of Ringo Starr, including an interactive drum lesson with the Beatles‘ rhythm man himself.
New York Museum of Chinese in America
Regular price: $10 adults
Learn about the immigrant experience in New York’s Chinatown in a building designed by Maya Lin. Current special exhibitions on the glamour of Shanghai women and the role Chinese-American designers in fashion. Follow it up with dim sum in the neighborhood.
San Francisco Cartoon Art
Regular price: $7 adults
Take your comics seriously? This is the art museum for you, with 6,000 works of cartoon cels, comic strips and book art. Best. Museum. Ever.
Washington, D.C. Museum of Crime and Punishment
Regular price: $21.95
Value the free admission and your freedom at a museum dedicated to criminals and police work. Fans of police procedural TV shows will enjoy the CSI lab and the filming studio for “America’s Most Wanted.”
The Historic Flight Foundation displays and flies vintage aircraft from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, also the home to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner manufacturing plant. Contrasting the very latest commercial aircraft of today, being built right next door, The Historic Flight Foundation
has completed the restoration of a DC-3 that dates back to 1944 and served Pan Am Airlines.
The airplane is now airworthy for the first time in a decade and has been added to an inventory of historic airplanes available for rides for the members of the foundation.
Because of the Pan Am heritage, a 1949 Pan Am exterior design was chosen, which includes “the correct color blue, the 48 stars of the flag and the big number on the wing that they used to have even on airliners,” said John Sessions, founder of the Historic Flight Foundation, in a statement.In addition to the paint scheme, the complete exterior refurbishment included restoring the airframe’s skins, overhauling the landing gear, replacing the window glass and reversing a previous Super DC-3 conversion. It was a transformation that included major modifications such as changing the tail wheel from retractable to fixed, removing the clamshell doors and altering the entire nose section.
Everything firewall forward is new or overhauled to zero time, including the engines and propellers. “She should be good for some relatively low maintenance service for quite a while,” said Sessions.
Want to know more about the history of Pan Am? Check out the video below:
Vintage aircraft fascinate those who travel by air. Pilots and aviation fans, along with frequent fliers, enjoy visiting air displays and museums to get up close and personal with aircraft that are often older than they are. As time goes on, efforts are being made to bring rare aircraft from World War II back to American facilities where they can be viewed and some even flown.
Central Florida’s Fantasy of Flight, home to the world’s largest private collection of rare and vintage planes, also became home to a World War II C-47 Dakota, also known as the SkyTrain, over the weekend.
Fantasy of Flight creator and founder Kermit Weeks purchased the plane last year from a private owner in the U.K. and began a seven-leg journey last July to fly the plane back to the United States across the Atlantic.
“We are thrilled to finally bring home the C-47 to our permanent collection,” said Weeks. “Flying her across the Atlantic was an incredible opportunity to relive the days when World War II pilots first brought them to Europe to fight for the Allies, but now, to be able to bring her home to Florida for our guests to enjoy will be even more momentous.”The C-47 is the military version of the Douglas DC-3 airliner, with a cargo door versus passenger door and a reinforced floor to hold heavy cargo and as many as 27 soldiers.
More than 10,000 C-47s were produced, but fewer than 1,000 remain and fewer than 300 are still flying. The C-47 (N1944A) acquired by Fantasy of Flight was used by the Allies during World War II to transport troops and cargo and was instrumental in the D-Day Invasion, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, the Crossing of the Rhine and in the repatriation of POWs at the end of the war.
Fantasy of Flight is located in Polk City, Florida and about a 45-minute drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO). Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Fantasy of Flight also has themed immersion experiences; interactive exhibits; a tram tour of aircraft maintenance areas; Restoration and Backlot tours; Fun with Flight center for families and the country’s only Aerial Demonstration of the Day (weather permitting) featuring a vintage plane.