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Space for everyone: Smithsonian Air and Space unveils new brand

June 10, 2022

— The National Air and Space Museum has adopted a new look... ahead of debuting its new look.

The Smithsonian's archive and showcase for the United States' aviation and space artifacts has unveiled a new logo in advance of opening the first phase of its renovated flagship building in Washington, D.C. this fall. The new brand identity is a first for the museum since it opened in 1976.

"The reimagined Air and Space brand exemplifies our vision of helping build a nation of innovators and explorers," Chris Browne, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum, said in a statement. "Ahead of opening transformed exhibitions this fall, our new brand helps us reintroduce the nation's aerospace collection with new stories and unforgettable experiences."

The new logo, which is intended to capture the experiences that await visitors, takes on the form of a stylized craft evoking both aviation and spaceflight at the same time. The brand exploration and creation was a museum-wide effort conducted with the help of Utah-based brand, design and marketing firm Boncom.

"The dual nature of the brand plays a significant role in not just the areas of content that the museum presents (air and space), but where and who it serves," said Browne. "The National Air and Space Museum is for everyone, whether an enthusiast or casual visitor, in-person or digital, through imagination or reality, past or future."

Space For Everyone. Click to enlarge and view video in a new, pop-up window. (Smithsonian)

As explained on the museum's website, the brand identity is intended to embrace four key ideals: the celebration of humankind's capacity to turn dreams into daring innovations; the inspiration to be derived from the museum's reimagined galleries; the inclusivity the museum extends to all of its visitors; and the approachability that the museum strives with all of its exhibits. A video introducing the museum's new approach emphasizes that last point in particular.

"Here's to anyone who ever looked up, the airheads and the space cases, the flight fanatics, the armchair astronauts and the casually curious," the video, titled "Space for Everyone," begins.

Since 2018, the National Air and Space Museum has been undergoing a top-to-bottom, $900 million revitalization involving the renovation and redesign of most of its galleries and exhibit spaces. The first results of that transformation are slated to open to the public this fall.

Galleries set to reopen include: "America by Air," "The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age," "Nation of Speed," "Thomas W. Haas We All Fly," "One World Connected," "Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery," "Destination Moon" and "Early Flight." The museum's store and Albert Einstein Planetarium will also open in the fall.

The second half of the renovation, focused on the east wing of the building, is currently scheduled to be ready by 2025. The museum, which is located on the National Mall, has been closed to the public since the end of March as the work to renovate the galleries in the west wing of the building is completed. (The National Air and Space Museum's annex, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia, remains open.)

In addition to the funds allocated by Congress, major donors to the revitalization effort include the Boeing Company, Raytheon Technologies, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Iridium. Jeff Bezos, founder of and the commercial spaceflight company Blue Origin, made the single largest gift in the Smithsonian Institution's history, $200 million, of which $70 million is going toward the ongoing renovation.


The National Air and Space Museum's new logomark uses positive and negative space to create a stylized craft that suggests aviation and spaceflight at the same time. (Smithsonian)

The new brand identity is the first logomark for the National Air and Space Museum since its opening in 1976. (Smithsonian)

An artist's rendering fo the new "Destination Moon" gallery, part of the National Air and Space Museum's reimagining. (Smithsonian)

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