On our recent trip to Paris, one of my favorite discoveries was the Air France archives. Tucked into a basement corner of the airline’s air terminal and ticket office in central Paris. Wow! As a life long plane nut and collector of antique airline memorabilia, the time we spent here was like Christmas morning for me. The archives house rows of historic materials on Air France and other airlines from around the world. While there, I even got to meet the former pr director for Air France. I admit I asked him if they had any job openings. He chuckled. One of those laughs that usually mean, “OK, you are a crazy person, now leave.” But, that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm.
How did my airplane love affair begin? I think it was back in the late ‘60s. We lived near the airport in Madison and from our yard I had a pretty good view of the planes taking off and landing. The Northwest 727s, North Central Convairs and DC-9s, and the Ozark F-27s heading for far off, exotic destinations like Milwaukee, Beloit, LaCrosse, and Rochester.
Today, I’m a collector of vintage airline memorabilia. Typically, I search for items on Ebay, but sometimes stumble on a great item in an antiques store. What attracts me to these items? I think there’s something about the adventure and excitement that air travel brought to the public. Plus, many of the items I collect have fantastic graphics and photographs. And, it’s cool to see images of people dressed in their finest enjoying a flight to a new destination. Men in suits. Women wearing hats, high heels, and gloves. Most everyone smoking and enjoying a cocktail. Air travel was treated like an event.
When we travel, I usually try to scout out an air or transport museum. Here are a few that you might want to check out next time you take to the skies. Happy travels!
* Kansas City, MO—Airline History Museum—http://www.airlinehistorymuseum.com/index_old.htm
* Milwaukee, WI—Mitchell Gallery of Flight—http://www.mitchellgallery.org/
* Dallas, TX—American Airlines/C.R. Smith Museum—http://www.aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/airlineMuseum/airlineMuseum.jsp
* Atlanta, GA—The Delta Heritage Museum—http://www.deltamuseum.org/M_Visit.htm
* Paris, France—Air France Archives—http://www.airfrancemusee.org/en/musee.php
* London, England—British Airways Museum and Heritage Centre—http://www.britishairways.com/travel/museum-collection/public/en_gb
* Dresden, Germany—Verkehrsmuseum— http://www.verkehrsmuseum-dresden.de/