Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington DC 2017The museum's collection started in 1876 with some Chinese kites received as a gift from the Emperor of China. For 100 years, it was never consolidated into a singular location as items were mostly stored and spread between different Smithsonian locations.
The current building is on the site of the old D.C. Armory, and opened on July 1st, 1976, a crowning addition to the Bicentennial festivities of the USA. Here it still stands on the south side of the "Mall", a mile-long row of monuments and museums celebrating all aspects of America.
ArrivalI was staying in Rosslyn across the river, and took the Metro to the Mall. It was a bit of a walk from that station to the museum, but that early in the morning there was practically no one around (it gets very crowded by the midday on weekends).
The MuseumThe building holds an incredible collection of pieces spanning the entire era of powered flight and before. The key pieces of aviation technology are here, and all are originals or a real example of.
SummaryThe Air & Space Museum has the best collection of aviation in the world. Huge open space to wander and observe. You could spend all day in here, and the lines to get in are extremely long. Hit it EARLY, or really late but risk not seeing it all.
This is the number one must-see museum in D.C.