Helicopters on exhibit at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum:

Where Knowledge Takes Flight

Fueled by a shared vision to create a living aviation museum and a desire to inspire and educate others, Captain Michael King Smith and his father Delford M. Smith founded the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in 1991 in McMinnville, Oregon. Not only did Captain Smith serve in the United States Air Force and the Oregon National Air Guard, he was also the president of Evergreen Ventures, Inc. and founded Evergreen-Doe Humane Society and Quality Aviation Services. When Captain Smith lost his life in an auto accident in 1995, his father continued on their path of aviation education with the addition of The Captain Michael King Smith Educational Institute. Today, the Institute offers programs such as summer camps, educational tours and book clubs, as well as scholarships and school visits.

Hughes H-4 Hercules Flying Boat (or "Spruce Goose") dominates the smaller aircraft

Before his death, Captain Smith spearheaded the acquisition of a major exhibition for Evergreen — the Hughes H-4 Hercules Flying Boat (or "Spruce Goose") from the Disney Corporation's collection. His winning proposal secured Evergreen as the aircraft's new home in 1993. The centerpiece of the museum's collection ever since, the "Spruce Goose," or Hercules, as Howard Hughes referred to it, is the world's largest wooden airplane. Of the more than 150 exhibitions, other aircraft of note include the Titan II SLV launch vehicle (with simulated launch from a replica mission control room), North American P-51D Mustang and Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter planes, Supermarine Spitfire Mark XVI and Lockheed SR-71A reconnaissance aircraft.

The Lockheed SR71A Blackbird was one of America's support aircraft during the Cold War

Today, the Smiths' idea has grown beyond a museum and educational center, with the addition of a theater with a giant projection screen, Evergreen Wings & Waveswaterpark (with a real Boeing 747 situated on the top of the building), gift stores, farm stores with gourmet treats and wine tasting from Evergreen Vineyards, cafés and the Captain Michael King Smith Firearms Collection.

Plan your visit at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum official website.

Take a look at GAYOT's "Spruce Goose" Photo Gallery

See more photos of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum