Smithsonian Institution officials visited the Carolinas Aviation Museum behind Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Thursday to mark a new partnership between the museums.
Mayor Anthony Foxx, standing before the huge fuselage of the US Airways Airbus that crashed in the Hudson River in 2009 en route to Charlotte, said the link with the Smithsonian represented another milestone in the fast-growing museums 20-year history.
It wasnt too long that the Carolinas Aviation Museum didnt even exist, Foxx said. Now its a Smithsonian affiliate, the home of the Miracle on the Hudson Flight 1549 plane and a permanent testament to North Carolinas first in flight tradition.
Affiliation with the nations best-known museum is a matter of prestige for the facility, which until 2009 was housed in an old 1940s hangar. Of the nations 18,000 museums, only 178 are affiliated with the Smithsonian and only two dozen of those focus on aviation.
Harold Closter, director of Smithsonian affiliations, said the partnership means that exhibits will be moving from the Washington galleries to Charlotte on loan. In the weeks ahead, he said, the Smithsonian will send At the Controls, a photo exhibition about cockpits of various aircraft.