Information on:

Birmingham - 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.


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.

Beatriz Puche

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
The museum is small but very interesting. The display of the aircrafts is beautiful and instructing, plus you can sit inside a couple of cockpits which is amazing for the kids.

Benny Washington, Sr.

Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017
About two months ago, I accompanied my son to this museum. His school, Gardendale Elementary school, was on a field trip. This place is one of many gems in Alabama. Being that I'm not a native, it was very exciting for me & my son to discover the rich history that Alabama has contributed to our nation.

Stephen Johnston

Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018
Interesting place. Lots of military history. They are moving to get more room for exhibits.

Southern Museum of Flight is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media