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National Soaring Museum, Elmira
(4/5 based on 35 reviews on the web)
The National Soaring Museum is an aviation museum whose stated aim is to preserve the history of motorless flight. It is located on top of Harris Hill near Elmira, New York, USA.The NSM is the Soaring Society of America's official repository. In 1975, the SSA Board of Directors transferred the Soaring Hall of Fame to the National Soaring Museum.The museum features a large collection of gliders on display as well as computerized flight simulators. The museum also offers educational programs.The museum also administers the National Landmark of Soaring program to recognize people, places and events which are significant in the history of motorless aviation.HistoryElmira and Harris Hill have long been associated with soaring in the USA. The establishment of the nation's most prolific glider manufacturer, Schweizer Aircraft in Elmira and the holding of first 13 National Soaring Contests at the site between 1930 and 1946 guaranteed its stature as a location.During the US National Soaring Contests in the 1950s competitors and organizers discussed the concept of a national soaring museum. A local Elmira museum at Strathmont Estates featured a display on the subject at the time.In the 1960s, the gliding segment of this small collection was moved to Harris Hill as a result of the work of the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation and Schweizer Aircraft co-founder Paul A. Schweizer.By 1969 the Soaring Society of America had earmarked Harris Hill as the location for the future National Soaring Museum. The museum was established as an independent nonprofit corporation. The New York State Department of Education chartered the museum as a non-profit educational institution in 1972.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I had heard about this museum a few years ago and finally got to visit. A very nice collection of sailplanes and displays about the people and history of soaring. Particularly enjoyed the replica of t...  more »
  • Small museum but informative! Walk and see on your own. Lots of gliders and some other air items. Each exhibit has notes on about the history 
  • If you're a pilot or flying enthusiast you'll love this place. Well laid out and enjoyable to walk around. Everyone was helpful and enjoyable to chat with! Watched a few gliders take off as well. 
Google
  • What an amazing place. It's small but packed with history. If you are a fan of aviation will enjoy this a great deal. I spent 2 hours here so fascinated by gliders. Even watched one take off outside.
  • Very sweet place- history, gliders through the years on display- I learned a lot. The man at the desk was helpful and kind. Outside we saw a few gliders being towed up, glide, and land. Until thunderstorms came in, which created one of the most fantastic shows I've ever seen. Scenery was incredible..I look forward to bringing friends.
  • Great overlook with a great View with swinging benches and glider planes and nice various nature like playground areas for the kids a great swimming pool with diving boards low dive and high dive great atmosphere various picnic areas rides for Kids miniature golf arcade room go karts a baseball cage driving range all in a very nice atmosphere
  • Excellent place to learn about the birth of flight. Their focus is on gliders, with plenty of full size models on the ground and hanging over head. Outside you can you see actual gliders taking off. The overlook of the Chemung Valley is incredible. There are educational programs for schools and scouts.
  • I visited the museum with my husband and two children. While there one of the employees proceeded to yell at my children, which I found unappropriate and unacceptable as a staff member. After she yelled down the stairs without addressing myself or my husband, she quickly walked away. I approached her on the matter as I was very upset that as a paying guest that we were treated so poorly. When I asked to speak with her, she responded very rudely "you will need to wait!" After I voiced my complaint, she proceeded to maintain her tone of disregard and lack of respect towards museum guests. She handled my complaint by dismissing it and declaring that my children were making noise the entire time we were there. I was unaware that guests were not allow to speak while there. She was a poor reflection on the facility and I was very upset and disturbed that a complaint was not received in a professional manner and I will certainly not be returning there again. When asked for her supervisors information, she refused to give it to me, another indication of her level of rudeness and disrespect. Not only towards me but her job.