The Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport has acquired two aircraft through a donation from the recently released 20th Century Fox feature film “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”
The replica Wright Flyer aircraft and the replica Lockheed Vega aircraft that were built for the movie will be on permanent display in the soon-to-be-reopened Museum of Flying.
“We are delighted with the addition of these aircraft to the museum’s permanent collection,” said David G. Price, chairman of the board of the Museum of Flying. “We are very pleased that 20th Century Fox reached out to the museum with this opportunity.”
The Wright Flyer and Lockheed Vega will complement two other aircraft in the museum collection that have a Hollywood lineage. The BD-5 Microjet was seen in the James Bond thriller “Octopussy” and the museum’s Boeing Stearman was featured in the movie “Spacecamp.”
“The two newly donated aircraft are of museum quality and look fantastic,” Museum of Flying Managing Director Daniel J. Ryan said. “They will complement the exhibit that we are developing on Hollywood in Aviation.”
The Museum of Flying was originally founded as The Donald Douglas Museum and Library of Santa Monica, Inc. in 1974 by Donald Douglas Jr. to ensure the preservation of the Douglas Aircraft legacy. The museum was moved to the north side of the Santa Monica Airport in April 1989 and re-established as the Museum of Flying.
The museum temporarily closed in July 2002 due to economic challenges, but Santa Monica city officials recently signed a new lease for the museum at 3100 Airport Ave. The new museum project will cost approximately $2 million to complete and construction on the site should begin in the next few weeks, airport officials said. The museum is expected to reopen as early as December.