Alaska Airlines donates $1.5 million to remodel Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

Alaska Airlines is donating $1.5 million to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum’s “America by Air” gallery, which explores the history of air transportation in America and the ways that improvements in technology have revolutionized air travel. This rendering shows a revamped approach to the museum’s commercial aviation gallery and recognition of Alaska Airlines. 

If you’ve been to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., you know how spectacular it is – a place filled with history and exhibits that inspire, educate and entertain.

That’s why Alaska Airlines is donating $1.5 million in support of the “America by Air” gallery, part of the overall remodeling of the museum’s flagship building. From large aircraft to smaller artifacts – such as uniforms, models and engines – the gallery traces the history of commercial aviation in the United States.

“Alaska Airlines is committed to working in our communities to introduce young people – especially those most at risk – to job opportunities in aviation and beyond, to set them up for success in future career options,” said Diana Birkett Rakow, Alaska Airlines vice president of external relations. “We are honored to support one of the world’s most premier education centers and a national treasure as it gears up to inspire future aviators and young adults in person, around the country and around the world. And for Alaska Airlines guests traveling to our nation’s capital, you can go see your favorite airline playing a part in our nation’s history.”

‘Inspiring young people to pursue careers in aviation and engineering’

The Smithsonian shares Alaska Airlines’ passion for innovation and constant improvement. With that in mind, it’s now time for a transformation of the museum – and Alaska Airlines is proud to play a key part. The contribution by Alaska and additional airlines will support the re-imagining of the hall and will be recognized at the revamped entrance. The gallery is scheduled to close mid-2018, with the newly renovated gallery reopening sometime in 2021.

“The generous contribution by Alaska Airlines and other airlines not only signals a commitment to the storied history of air travel, but to inspiring young people to pursue careers in aviation and engineering,” said Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum. “These gifts help launch the museum on a trajectory to realizing the transformation of this important place.”

The Smithsonian will join the great array of organizations that Alaska Air Group partners with to connect young people with opportunities, including the Museum of Flight, The Road Maps Project, Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, Alaska Challenger Center for Space Science Technology, United Negro College Fund, Technology Access Foundation and others.

Alaska’s goal is to impact 100,000 youths by 2020.

Learn more: Changes in store for the National Air and Space Museum


  1. How totally appropriate that Alaska Airlines, a airline for all American communities should support a museum and treasure for all American communities!

  2. Bravo Zulu Alaska Airlines and staff. Who better to contribute to the museum than our nations finest Airline.

  3. Was there in the late ’80s, and so enjoyed it. Now, to learn of the amazing upgrade, is wonderful. Alaska Airlines is my favorite airline, so this contribution makes me very proud of them!

  4. I have been there and I think it is the best part of the Smithsonian




  6. I can’t tell you how wonderful that makes me feel! I’m a member of the Smithsonian; and your donation is much appreciated!
    Jean Macomber

  7. Thank you for supporting a national treasure!

    1. Really great that the firm has donated funds to Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Having visited this national treasure many times, it is a museum worthy of support. If anyone reading this is an aviation buff, this museum should be on your bucket list. Don’t forget to give yourself another day at the Udvar Hazey wing near Dulles Airport.

  8. Thanks Alaska Airlines to donating to an awesome aviation museum in the United States!!

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