Larger artifacts will have to wait until additional buildings are constructed by 2030, depending on funding. In total, 39,000 artifacts still must be moved in the years to come.
The Smithsonian's aerospace hangar has grown to become Virginia's most-visited museum. When it opened 10 years ago, there were just 348 artifacts on display. Now there are more than 3,000, including the space shuttle Discovery and the Enola Gay B-29 bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Japan in World War II.
Visitors can also look down on the massive restoration hangar to see ongoing projects.
The first major restoration effort in the new facility is the preservation of a U.S. Navy Helldiver dive-bomber plane used against Japan in World War II. Another plane that survived the Pearl Harbor bombings is among the next projects. Conservators carefully disassemble each piece, document their work, repair damage and corrosion and reassemble each plane.
"I hope the main thing visitors see is the extent of detail that we work on," said restoration specialist Anne McCombs. "We literally pay attention to every screw, every piece of hardware."
National Air and Space Museum: http://airandspace.si.edu
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