Visit Houston’s first airport, now an aviation museum

What was Houston’s first airport is now a museum that transports visitors through aviation history.

HOUSTON — Who remembers the golden age of air travel, with its glamorous outfits and gourmet meals?

“It was quite an event for people to do that,” says Maggie Brown.

From 1940 to 1955, this event took off in what is now the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.

“It started as Houston’s first airport. It was the terminal, so it was kind of like the original Hobby,” says Brown, the museum’s executive director. “People were coming into the atrium and getting their tickets and getting out and getting on the plane.”

Today, the museum gives visitors the opportunity to explore what things were like in those days.

“The office here, we have all our modern equipment from 1940,” Brown says, pointing to the rotary phone, typewriter and dictaphone. “It’s good for young people to come and see what life was like back then and tell the story of what people were going through in 1940.”

Visitors to the museum can also visit one of the aircraft from the era, a Lockheed Lodestar.

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In addition to permanent exhibitions, it offers temporary shows, such as Fashion Takes Flight.

“It tells the story of the evolution of flight attendant/air hostess uniforms from around 1950 to the early 2000s,” says Brown. “You can see the story not only of the change in fashion, but also of the role that women have played in a professional environment, especially in aviation.”

All of this is housed inside the art deco building, which opened in 1940 and was designed by Joseph Finger, the same man who designed Houston City Hall.

“It’s very timeless, so you can really take some great photos,” says events manager Juan Ortiz, adding that the museum hosts everything from weddings to dinner parties to car shows and more. “The third Saturday of every month is sort of our open house. It’s when we invite the community to explore and experience the exhibits.”

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When asked if enough people knew about this gem, tucked away just off the Hobby Airport runway, Brown laughed, “No, not at all.”

Now that you do, consider this your invitation to visit this piece of Houston history.

“So we can be here for another 80 years!” adds Ortiz.

For more information about the museum, including information and hours, click here.

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About Carlos V. Mitchell

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