National Soaring Museum
|Location||Elmira (Harris Hill), New York|
Warren E. Eaton Motorless Flight Facility
|Location||62 Soaring Hill Dr., Big Flats, New York|
|NRHP Reference #||13000778|
|Added to NRHP||September 25, 2013|
The museum features a large collection of gliders on display as well as computerized flight simulators. The museum also offers educational programs.
The museum also administers the National Landmark of Soaring program to recognize people, places and events which are significant in the history of motorless aviation.
Elmira and Harris Hill have long been associated with soaring in the USA. The establishment of the nation's most prolific glider manufacturer, Schweizer Aircraft in Elmira and the holding of first 13 National Soaring Contests at the site between 1930 and 1946 guaranteed its stature as a location.
During the US National Soaring Contests in the 1950s competitors and organizers discussed the concept of a national soaring museum. A local Elmira museum at Strathmont Estates featured a display on the subject at the time.
In the 1960s, the gliding segment of this small collection was moved to Harris Hill as a result of the work of the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation and Schweizer Aircraft co-founder Paul A. Schweizer.
By 1969 the Soaring Society of America had earmarked Harris Hill as the location for the future National Soaring Museum. The museum was established as an independent nonprofit corporation. The New York State Department of Education chartered the museum as a non-profit educational institution in 1972.
The museum replaced its original fire-damaged building in 1979 with a new 16,000 sq ft (1,500 m2) facility. In 1989 an addition of 12,000 sq ft (1,100 m2) was completed and in 1993 a 3,200 sq ft (300 m2) Collections Annex was completed.
The presence of the NSM at Harris Hill was instrumental in convincing the National Warplane Museum, now called Wings of Eagles to move to the area in 1997. Along with the nearby Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, New York, these three aviation history museums are major tourist draws to the Elmira region.
The NSM collection includes:
- List of aerospace museums
- List of gliders
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Chemung County, New York
- "National Register of Historic Places". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 9/16/13 through 9/30/13. National Park Service. 2013-01-18.
- National Soaring Museum (2008). "Welcome to the National Soaring Museum!". Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- National Soaring Museum (2008). "The History of the National Soaring Museum". Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- National Soaring Museum (2008). "Sailplanes in Our Collection". Retrieved 2008-09-02.