The Genesis of the Museum

The Museum was founded in September 1961 by the Aviation Committee of the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce. Operating as a non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status, the new Aerospace Museum formally opened its doors on February 15, 1963 in Balboa Park’s Food and Beverage Building (known today as the Casa del Prado Theatre). Although small in number, the items on display were impressive. They included a reproduction of the Navy’s first seaplane, the Curtiss A-1; a 1929 Fleet Model 7; the original rocket engine from the Bell X-1; and an extensive collection of artifacts relating to John J. Montgomery. As the collection grew, it soon became apparent a larger facility was needed. So in 1965, the Museum moved across the Prado to the larger Electric Building.

The Museum’s initial location was inside the Food and Beverage Building.

The Museum’s second location was inside the Electric Building, as seen in 1915.

Entrance to the Aerospace Museum’s location at the Electric Building.

Rare footage of the original Museum:

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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