1940 Air Terminal Museum
Backstory and Context
In the late 1920s, east Texas lumber and railroad tycoon W.T. Carter bought an airfield in southeast Houston. Later, the city of Houston decided that it needed a civilian passenger airfield. Carter sold the land to the city in 1937. Joseph Finger designed the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal, a streamline moderne structure that was finished in 1940. The project was completed with assistance from the Public Works Administration. Finger had earlier designed Houston City Hall, completed in 1939.
By 1954, the terminal was no longer used because William Hobby Terminal was completed. It fell out of use in 1978. In 1988, Houston's Department of Aviation demolished buildings that had been tacked on to the original terminal to bring it back to its 1940s appearance. It has been owned and operated by the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society since 1998. The first phase of the museum was completed in 2004. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019
The Aviation Heritage Gallery features exhibits on the Douglas DC-3, including original oil paintings by Jonathan Frank. The Airline Galleries, Hall of Flight, and Starliner Theater feature original aviation art, stunning period photographs, outstanding scale aircraft models, artifacts, uniforms, memorabilia and documents of various airlines, Howard Hughes and Houston Cessna dealer King Cruse.
The Aviation Meteorology and Air Traffic Control Galleries feature vintage weather and ATC equipment such as teletypes, radios, and light guns as well as weather charts and navigational maps. The galleries also feature Houston's aviation history and the history of learning to fly. The Children's Dream of Flight Gallery features vintage aviation toys, games, and books as well as an aviation play table and reading library to inspire young visitors to dream of flight.
"Museum History." 1940 Air Terminal Museum. Accessed June 11, 2014. http://www.1940airterminal.org/history/timeline.
1940 Air Terminal Museum - Houston, Texas, Atlas Obscura. Accessed July 14th 2020. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/1940-air-terminal-museum.
The 1940 Houston Air Terminal Museum, Texas Escapes. Accessed July 14th 2020. http://www.texasescapes.com/Houston/1940-Houston-Air-Terminal-Museum.htm.