National Soaring Museum, Elmira

4.3
#7 of 10 in Things to do in Elmira
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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National Soaring Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • August 19, 2017
    We were here as part of a bus tour. We had a guided tour. Our guide explained the beginnings of gliding/soaring to the present time(very interesting). The best of this area is not only the history but...  more »
  • August 8, 2017
    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 »
  • July 6, 2017
    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 »
Google
  • March 6, 2017
    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.
  • July 3, 2017
    Really exciting getting to see the gliders and hang gliders in the sky.
  • November 12, 2016
    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.
  • July 3, 2017
    Enjoyable, relaxing, educational,friendly lady curator, displays well done!
  • August 14, 2016
    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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