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National Soaring Museum, Elmira

4.3
#7 of 10 in Things to do in Elmira
Specialty Museum Museum
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 Traveler Rating
43 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This is a small museum on top of a 1700 foot hill next to a runway for gliders. The museum explains the history of gliding nicely, with a useful film. I mostly took in the elegant long wings and grace...  more »
  • My 16 year old grandson and I visited. The museum is right next to the air field. A glider was taking off when we arrived and we watched until it separated from the tow plane and soared on. Also saw o...  more »
  • This is a small but interesting museum with a gift shop. It's all about soaring (engineless flight). I didn't know they could soar that far. Do not skip the 30 minute video. The video explains a lot a...  more »
Google
  • Nice place to visit and learn about gliders. On your way back home stop at Harris Hill amusement play park and let the kids have some fun.
  • Really exciting getting to see the gliders and hang gliders in the sky.
  • 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.
  • Enjoyable, relaxing, educational,friendly lady curator, displays well done!
  • 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.

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