Cradle of Aviation Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Cradle of Aviation Museum crop.jpg
Cradle of Aviation Museum is located in New York
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Location within New York
LocationGarden City, New York
TypeAviation museum
FounderGeorge C. Dade
CuratorJoshua Stoff
Public transit accessLIRR stations: Garden City, Mineola, Westbury

Coordinates: 40°43′43″N 73°35′51″W / 40.7286°N 73.5976°W / 40.7286; -73.5976

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is an aerospace museum located in Garden City, New York on Long Island to commemorate Long Island's part in the history of aviation. It is located on land once part of Mitchel Air Force Base which, together with nearby Roosevelt Field and other airfields on the Hempstead Plains, was the site of many historic flights. So many seminal flights had occurred in the area that, by the mid-1920s, the cluster of airfields was already dubbed the "Cradle of Aviation",[1] the origin of the museum's name.

Long Island – The Cradle of Aviation[edit]

Aviation firsts that contributed to Long Island's nickname - the "Cradle of Aviation:"[2]

The Cradle of Aviation Museum's first curator, William K. Kaiser, participated in an aviation first as one of the pilots on the first transatlantic crossing of non-rigid airships in 1944 as a young ensign in the United States Navy.[3][4] For his educational contributions and curatorial work at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Kaiser was named a Jimmy Doolittle Fellow and an Ira Eaker Fellow by the Air Force Association Aerospace Education Foundation in 1986.[5]

Museum origins[edit]

The first Cradle of Aviation Museum Newsletters were published periodically by the Friends of Nassau County Museum when the air museum itself was still just a dream of Kaiser and George C. Dade, the museum's first director. Along with Henry Anholzer of Pan American Airlines and a team of volunteers, they acquired and restored numerous aircraft. These aircraft reflected some of Long Island's aviation firsts and its local aerospace industry. The first acquisition was a World War I Curtiss JN-4D discovered in an Iowa pig barn by Dade in 1973. Apparently, Lindbergh later confirmed that this was his very first airplane.[6] According to their Spring 1979 newsletter, the museum also had a Ryan Brougham (sister ship of the Spirit of St. Louis), Republic P-47N Thunderbolt, Republic Seabee, Grumman F-11A Tiger, and a Grumman Lunar Module spacecraft.[7] These aircraft were destined to occupy hangars 3 & 4 of Mitchel Air Force Base which was acquired by Nassau County when the base closed in 1961. The museum originally opened with just a handful of aircraft in the un-restored hangars in 1980. A major renovation and expansion program in the late 1990s allowed the museum to re-open in a state-of-the-art facility in 2002.


Today the museum contains over 60 aircraft and scale models of airplanes from various time periods, including Charles Lindbergh's Curtiss Jenny in which he barnstormed, the A-10 Thunderbolt II and Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and an actual unused Apollo Lunar Module, LM-13.[8] LM-13 was scheduled to land on the Moon with the Apollo 18 mission, but with the mission's cancellation it remained on Earth, and close to its birthplace in the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation facility in nearby Bethpage, New York.[9]

Lobby of the Museum with Grumman F-11F and Fleet Model 2 biplane

Many of the tour guides and restoration workers formerly worked at Grumman, which contributed much to the museum.[10]

The museum is one of the more popular Air and Space museums in the United States and is well known for its innovative installations, including unique audio-visual, hands-on and interactive exhibits. The museum's longtime curator (1985–present), Joshua Stoff, is a well-respected author in aviation circles.[11]

In addition to the museum itself, the complex houses the JET BLUE DOME theater featuring IMAX 70 millimeter format films as well as a state-of-the-art digital planetarium, and the Red Planet Cafe, decorated to look like a space station on Mars. The museum continues to install new exhibitry related to various Long Island topics to this day.

Firefighter Museum[edit]

Within the same building, the Cradle of Aviation Museum houses the Nassau County Firefighter's Museum and Education Center. It is a nearly 10,000 square foot interactive facility where individuals, families and groups can experience first-hand the proud tradition of firefighting in the surrounding communities. Visitors can also trace the history of firefighting in Nassau County with hands-on exhibits that feature antique and contemporary fire apparatus and gear.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Basset, Preston, "The History of Aviation on Long Island", Sperry Rand Corporation, 1957.
  2. ^ Kaiser, William K., Ed., The development of the aerospace industry on Long Island, 3 vols., Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., 1968, LC Control No: 67030029.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2009-12-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2013-06-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Home - Air Force Association". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  6. ^ Thomas, Robert McG. Jr. (May 29, 1998). "George C. Dade Dies at 85; Fliers Inspired His Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  7. ^ Cradle of Aviation Museum Newsletter, Spring 1979, Friends of the Nassau County Museum, Syosset, NY
  8. ^ LM-13 is one the American Society of Mechanical Engineers "Landmark" projects -, retrieved 2008-05-21
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2011-12-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Grumman changed its name to Grumman Aerospace Corporation in 1969, and was sold to Northrop in 1994, after which the company's Long Island facilities were closed down.
  11. ^ "Optimum Community". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2016.

External links[edit]