One of D.C.’s most beloved museums will undergo a seven-year long renovation intended to completely transform it.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum will begin renovation next summer, starting on the west side of the museum, ensuring that part of the museum is operational at all times to accommodate for the millions of people who visit each year.
Renovations will update or completely change exhibits to allow for an easier, more interactive experience for visitors. Among new exhibits will be an “Exploring the Planets” section where visitors will be able to interactively explore the solar system.
Artifacts will be moved to the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. for safekeeping while their exhibits are being renovated.
In addition to exhibits being updated, the museum will completely reface its exterior cladding, and replace outdated mechanical systems.
The total cost of the renovation is estimated to be about $650 million and the museum says it’ll raise an additional $250 million from private sources.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the Air and Space museum is the world’s second-most visited museum after the National Museum of China. It was opened in 1976.