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Explore Museums Dedicated to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

posted by Teresa Farrell at 2021-12-15 21:16:00

Upstate New York is home to museums on just about every topic you can imagine. This fall, explore the history of transportation at one of several museums around the state that explore the history of planes, trains and automobiles.

Upstate New York is home to plenty of aviation history. You can find out firsthand about it with a visit to the Finger Lakes region, where you’ll find the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, the National Soaring Museum in Elmira, and the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport.

The National Warplane Museum, dedicated to the history of aviation in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, honors the stories of veterans alongside the history of wartime aviation. It is home to a collection of WWII aircraft, some of which have been retired and some that still fly today, as well as a display area with WWII artifacts, model planes, and more.

Meanwhile, the National Soaring Museum offers the opportunity to explore the history of soaring with one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of sailplanes and gliders in the world, including exhibits, artifacts, a collection of nearly 90 gliders dating back to the 1800s. The National Soaring Museum is also home to the United States Soaring Hall of Fame, which recognizes innovators and high achievers in the field. Both the museums offer the opportunity to book a flight with a pilot in one of the aircrafts, if the weather conditions are right—make sure to contact the museums ahead of time to find out about any COVID regulations or flight conditions if you’re interested in getting up in the air.

In Hammondsport, the Glenn H. Curtiss museum includes exhibits on aircraft, motorcycles, automobiles and bicycles, with originals, restorations and reproductions all on display. The priceless collection celebrates the life of Hammondsport-born Glenn H. Curtiss, an engineering genius whose interest in aviation, motorcycle racing and engines of all kinds led him to become known as “The Father of Naval Aviation” and “The Fastest Man on Earth”.

To the east of the Finger Lakes, in Central New York explore the history of classic cars at the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich. With exhibits spread across five interconnected buildings, the museum tells the story of cars in America throughout the 20th century, with more than 170 cars from the 1890s to the 1970s on display. Check out pre- and post-war collections, a truck exhibit, exhibits on cars made in New York, and more. Don’t miss the popular Franklin Room, home to the third oldest Franklin automobile known in existence, built in nearby Syracuse. Information on hours and admission can be found on the Northeast Classic Car Museum’s website.

In Western New York, learn about the history of trains at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. This museum features artifacts, tools and equipment, documents, photos and video on the history of the railroad industry in the Rochester area. It’s also home to the largest collection of historic trains in New York State, with more than 40 locomotives, freight and passenger train cars, and cabooses that tell the story of vintage trains up close. You can even board a train for a ride around the grounds, and explore exhibits on each end of the mile-and-a-half-round-trip loop.

In nearby Lockport, take a visit to the Medina Railroad Museum, the largest railroad and toy train museum in New York State, with more than 6,000 artifacts on display and seasonal passenger train trips. And while you’re in Western New York, check out the Arcade and Attica Railroad, in the town of Arcade, to the southeast of Buffalo. This unique experience offers exhibits, artifacts and 90-minute-round-trip rides their historic passenger steam train, the last one of its kind operating in New York State.

Whether you’re interested in the history of aviation, the railroad, or classic cars, there is plenty to see at these Upstate New York museums. Though these attractions are typically open year-round, check their websites for specific information on hours and admission before you head out to explore, especially for plane and train rides. All aboard!
Miniature trains photo credit Medina Railroad Museum

Heinkel Jet photo credit National Warplane Museum
Soaring Museum exhibit photo credit National Soaring Museum
Ford Racer photo credit Northeast Classic Car Museum
Train on tracks photo credit Arcade and Attica Railroad
Arcade and Attica building photo credit Arcade and Attica Railroad
Miniature trains photo credit Medina Railroad Museum


posted at: 2021-12-15 21:16:00, last updated: 2022-01-09 05:26:25

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