In 2003, a group of retired airline employees and civic leaders met to discuss creating a lasting legacy to the commercial airlines that helped make Atlanta home to the busiest airport in the world. From this initial conversation, a national movement was born, resulting in what is now known as the National Museum of Commercial Aviation (NMCA).
The NMCA is a collaborative effort between the non-profit Museum, local and regional governments in Georgia, and hundreds of business, aviation and community partners throughout the country. A 501(c)3 non-profit Georgia corporation, the NMCA is governed by a Board of Trustees and a Board of Advisors.
In 2007, after years of research and planning, the Museum selected and subsequently announced south metro Atlanta as its permanent home, followed by a major operating grant award from Clayton County to assist with planning, research & other operating needs. As a result of growing public demand, and interest from the aviation community, the first Interim Headquarters & Research Air-Chive was opened two miles south of the airport, in Forest Park, in March of 2008. The Interim H.Q. was designed to act as both temporary museum and sales center to give the public an idea of what to expect further down the road, and immediately became a success.
More than 4,000 visitors came through the doors in the first 14 months open, and the demand for public programming, group tours, children’s educational programming and additional exhibits necessitated a move into a much larger facility adjacent to the existing site. The current Interim museum is 8,000-sf, and houses dozens of exhibits, a research library, a children’s activity center, staff offices, and collections storage. This current location is serving as the center of operations for the Museum until the much larger main campus is built.
The National Museum of Commercial Aviation (NMCA) is the nation's premier center for airline history and research. Based in Atlanta adjacent to the world's busiest airport, it is the first comprehensive airline industry museum in the United States.
This one-of-a-kind museum will celebrate the lives and stories of the men and women whose work and passion helped shape the industry. The museum's vast array of interactive, high-tech and high-touch exhibits will help to:
1. Preserve American culture and heritage through historic aircraft and artifact exhibits and by serving as a national archives for commercial aviation. Special attention will be paid to the significant contributions of women, African-Americans and other groups that make up the diverse landscape that is America.
2. Empower youth in their formative years to connect with careers in aviation by providing a pivotal, hands-on experience.
3. Connect the visitor to the past, present and future of air travel through exciting behind-the-scenes tours and engaging displays from the early dreamers and risk takers to today's corporate boardrooms.
To provide public programs and educational resources in a unique environment for visitors, students and educators at all levels that promote the science, history and study of aviation - with an emphasis on education for traditionally underserved sectors of the population.
To document the technical evolution and economic impact of the commercial airline industry, demonstrating that every job in the industry is significant.
To provide for the proper care and display of aircraft, memorabilia and artifacts related to the entire commercial airline industry, with a particular focus on those airlines and visionaries that helped Atlanta become home to the world's busiest airport.
To form close ties with both the National Archives and the Georgia Archives, and to collaborate with Clayton State University for archival sciences and studies, history programming and tourism.