The San Diego Air is an aviation and space exploration museum located in San Diego, California, in the United States of America. The museum is located in Balboa Park and is housed in the former Ford Building. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States of America (National Register of Historic Places). The museum was created by articles of incorporation on October 12, 1961, and it officially opened its doors to the public on February 15, 1963.
The SDASM promotes itself as one of the major aviation museums in the country, with the third-largest collection of archives and library collections in the United States. SDASM has two restoration facilities, one on-site and near Gillespie Field. Both of which are open to the public. Several aircraft are on display outdoors at the Gillespie Field Annex. In addition to those, there is also a Convair SM-65 Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), a museum model shop, and a restoration facility. The museum’s library houses a collection of aircraft publications and vintage images of aircraft and aircraft manufacture from the museum’s collection.
Located in the Food and Beverage Building and constructed in 1915 for the Panama–California Exposition, the museum opened its doors to the public for the first time on February 15, 1963. The museum relocated to its current location in the more prominent Electrical Building in 1965.
Arsonists set fire to the Electrical Building and the Museum on February 22, 1978, destroying both structures in the San Diego, California area. Several unique aircraft were damaged, including the Beecraft Wee Bee. The world’s lightest aircraft, and her sister craft, the Queen Bee (the world’s most potent aircraft). More than 50 other aircraft, a vast collection of artifacts and records, and the International Aerospace Hall of Fame were destroyed. A replica of the Spirit of St. Louis was built in 1967 by some of the original builders. Owen Clarke, the museum’s executive director, stated that the $4 million in losses were due to “a combination of factors.” “This is a tragedy on an unimaginable scale. What else can it be when you’ve spent so many years accumulating history and constructing something to the point where it has international renown, to see it all vanish in a matter of hours?”