The Museum’s Virtual Experience: Visit Us From Home

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In The Air History Preserved
As seen in the January 2021 issue of Model Aviation.

THE 2020 COVID-19 pandemic kept many public venues closed for much of the year, and our National Model Aviation Museum was one of them. Although we were open in the summer, seven days a week for much of July and part of August, it wasn’t nearly as busy as usual. This was expected because fewer events than normal were held on-site, and the museum could only be open at half capacity.

Despite the building being closed to the public for much of the year, our work at the museum did not stop. Even when we were working from home in late spring, we were still answering research emails and calls, fielding donation questions, handling reprint requests, and adding to our virtual offerings.

You might have noticed information about the museum’s virtual tour and online collections in issues of the AMA Today e-newsletter. If you have been a Museum Patron or have been following our Facebook page or blogs, you have heard a lot about the development of some of these for the past few years. We wanted to share more this month because January can be dreary. If you haven’t had a chance to see all of this on our website, here we delve into our virtual experience page.

Virtual tour: You can take an electronic stroll through the National Model Aviation Museum from the comfort of your home with our virtual museum tour. We know seeing our collections in person can really connect you with the artifacts, but this is a convenient and safe option during a pandemic.

Digital collections: In mid-2019, we made a web portal that is accessible to all. It is a collection of records in the museum’s database, PastPerfect. The number of artifacts we have made available online has been growing. Click the orange button on the virtual experience page to go to the digital collections. Model aircraft, engines, books from our library, photos, scrapbooks, patches, pins, catalogs, trophies, and much more can be seen here.

The virtual tour and digital collections work in unison to show you not only the artifacts that are on display in the galleries but also the additional items we have in storage. In the virtual tour, hover over individual artifacts (such as an airplane) while you are "walking" through the exhibits, and if that artifact has been linked to a record in our digital collections, a black box will pop up with the name of the aircraft. Clicking on this box will bring you to the record page so that you can read more about the object.

Exhibit pages: We have a map at the bottom of the virtual experience page that shows the museum’s public spaces. Click on any gallery area on the map and it will take you to a corresponding exhibit page. Click on the store or plans areas and that will take you to shopping pages. Shopping with us helps support AMA and the National Model Aviation Museum.

You can find our Museum Virtual Experience page at If you have not yet checked it out, now is the time to see what we have available. We are adding more to the online component weekly, so keep checking back to see what’s new … or old.

a digital collections picture
A digital collections picture from a May 1, 2019, blog post.
this is what the virtual tour section
This is what the virtual tour section on the Museum Virtual Experience page looks like.
the orange digital collections button
The orange digital collections button on the Museum Virtual Experience page.
this map links browsers to the exhibit
This map links browsers to the exhibit pages on the Museum Virtual Experience page.
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