The real Spirit of St. Louis is kept at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC as a national treasure. Normally it’s displayed hanging from the ceiling, but for the next eight months it will be kept at floor level. Why? It needs a little spring cleaning. It’s 87 years old after all, and they haven’t vacuumed in 22 years.
Ok, technically they’re saying it hasn’t had a conservation treatment in 22 years. Maybe they hoist a guy up there now and again to dust.
The family and I got to see the Spirit of St. Louis for ourselves when we made a big trip to DC last year for vacation. If you’re thinking of heading that way for Spring Break or a summer vacation, make sure the National Air and Space Museum in the National Mall is on your list. If you have boys, it’s one of the BEST museums to go see. The other is of course the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia where they keep the rest of the planes and…the space shuttle!
The Udvar-Hazy is impossible to reach by Metro, so you’ll need your own wheels…unless you want to take a bus. Thankfully, we always drive on our family vacations.
If you can’t make it out to DC anytime soon, you can see a really cool replica of the Spirit of St. Louis right here IN St. Louis, at the Missouri History Museum. It’s hanging in the MacDermott Grand Hall–the main hall of the museum.
For years I thought it was just a plastic replica and didn’t give the St. Louis copy much credit. “The Smithsonian has our plane (grumble, grumble),” is what you could hear me mutter whenever I visit the museum. Then I found out something pretty dang interesting.
Our replica is just a year younger than the real thing. And it flew. Maybe by Lindbergh himself.
A replica of Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, was built in 1928 by the Ryan Airlines Corporation, the company that also built the original plane. Our replica of the Spirit of St. Louis is quite special itself, having been featured in the movie The Spirit of St. Louis, starring Jimmy Stewart. Both Stewart and his consultant, Charles Lindbergh, may have flown this iconic plane. ~Missouri History Museum
So maybe our plane didn’t cross the Atlantic, but it came close…in Hollywood.
Trivia: We told Ryan he was named after this plane. Not really. Sorta. But it was a nice coincidence. And as it worked out…Mitch has a plane too.