Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
Though it’s been a U.S. territory for more than a century and a state since 1959, Hawaii remains an archipelago unto itself: 2,400 miles west of San Francisco, the small chain of volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is a remote world of exquisite beauty unique from the rest of our country. So how do we get there? The National Air and Space Museum guides viewers through the history of plane travel to and from the islands in its latest exhibition, “Hawaii by Air,” which features photographs, newspaper clippings, fragments of old planes, and full-scale models that detail the evolution of the aircraft. But the exhibit also highlights Hawaii’s historic exoticism: When the first plane landed on Hawaiian soil in 1910, the islands had only just become a U.S. territory and the indigenous people were looked down upon. From the devastation at Pearl Harbor to the subsequent tourism boom that came after Hawaii joined the U.S., “Hawaii by Air” takes you beyond a distant mirage of paradise to the nuanced history of the islands many call paradise. The exhibition is on view daily, 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., to July 31, 2015 at the National Air and Space Museum, Independence Avenue and Sixth Street SW. Free. (202) 633-2214. airandspace.si.edu.