Information on:

Southern Museum of Flight

4343 73rd Street North


With the approach of the centennial celebration of the city of Birmingham in the mid 1960s, a civic committee began working on projects that would tell the story of the first 100 years of the City of Birmingham. Mrs. Mary Alice Beatty, who, with her husband, Donald Beatty had been pioneers in the establishment of the first airline routes and bases in Central and South America, felt that the Aviation History of Birmingham should be included in these projects.

The Committee's goal was to establish a regional air museum, to be called The Southeastern Museum of Aviation, and Mrs. Beatty was placed in charge of the project with $400 appropriated for expenses. Using the Beatty's own collection of memorabilia as a basis, in 1966 she established the first displays in six display cases. Samford University offered space for the displays, which, by that time, was called The Birmingham Museum of Aviation. The displays remained at Samford for three years, during which time Mrs. Beatty was the curator. Mrs. Beatty then moved the displays to a location closer to the airport, using the main lobby of the Birmingham Airport Motel, which stood at the location of the present short-term parking deck across the street from the old terminal.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in 1978 at the museum's current location, and the Southern Museum of Flight was officially opened to the public in the fall of 1983. After nearly three decades of growth and expansion, the Southern Museum of Flight is dedicated to investigating, preserving, and promoting the rich stories of Southern Aviation and to providing enjoyable, experiential educational programming for people of all ages. Through collaborative partnerships within the community, the Southern Museum of Flight provides a continuum of exhibitions, displays, and educational services with a sincere devotion to cultural and historical literacy. The Southern Museum of Flight prepares and supports skillful, reflective professionals who improve the quality of aviation education in a museum setting.

The Southern Museum of flight presents civilian, military, and experimental aircraft and memorabilia from the earliest history of powered flight. The museum houses over 90 aircraft, as well as engines, models, artifacts, and paintings. In addition, the Southern Museum of Flight is home to the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame with over 70 biographical plaques presenting Alabama aviation history through collective biography.


Brad Moffett

Friday, July 13, 2018
Excellent and very well maintained aviation museum. We live outside Washington DC and are very familiar with the two Smithsonian Air and Space museums and as a former Air Force aviator, we have been to the Air Force museum in Dayton. While these constitute the upper echelon of aviation museum, this one certainly belongs in the next level and should be a destination for any aviation enthusiast. We visited with our family that includes multiple current Air Force pilots and found that active military and their families are free. We were there several hours and still didn't have time to tour the outside aircraft. Multiple well maintained flight simulators were free. There collection of intelligence aviation art and the stories associated with those missions is the best I have seen anywhere. The same applies to their collection of kit built aircraft. Haven't seen an equivalent collection in the more than 20 aviation museums I have visited. Definitely add this to your must see list for Birmingham.

Life Is Brewtiful

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Very educational and tons of fun for me, my wife, and my son. He is obsessed with planes and he loved to sit in the seats of of some airplanes and helicopters. They had flight simulators that were really fun for the adults and so much cool exhibits ranging from the beginning of mechanical aviation to modern day. I was really impressed with the massive Russian attack helicopter and the interactive exhibits. Also it was free for military (or maybe discounted I can't remember). Either way, it was so fun and I loved it. Great time and lots to see!

Cameron Shea

Sunday, July 1, 2018
Great flight museum for the South. Some interesting aircraft, including the Lake Murray B-25, Rutans, Blackbird and Drone, and plenty more. Not huge, and not too expensive. Really nice staff. Volunteer with them!

Ouida Brackett

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018
We decided to take a little trip to the museum on a whim. My hubby two kids and I thoroughly enjoyed this place. It was very informative and the displays were very well kept. My son loved all the cool planes and choppers. He was in heaven! We loved the videos and information that was attached to the artifacts. Very nice experience

Joanne Hoffmann

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Small but filled with enough to impress even finicky teenagers. Very nice place loved the exhibits. Staff was very friendly, place is well kept. We enjoyed our visit very much.

Southern Museum of Flight is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media