An early Pan American Airways display

Did you know that the San Francisco airport houses an actual museum? Sandwiched in between International Terminal A and Terminal 1 is the Aviation Museum & Library. It’s amazing because a) it exists, b) it’s quiet, and c) the exhibits are really interesting. We only saw one traveler that knew of this secret oasis amidst SFO’s hustle and bustle. Not even we were traveling. We just stopped in to look at the exhibits (and weren’t disappointed).

Currently showing, among others: An exhibit on the China Clipper, the first transpacific passenger air service (ongoing), and an exhibit on airline brochures and advertisements (until August 2011).

A model of the Martin M-130 China Clipper

Pieces from the China Clipper exhibit

...

...

A model of the Sikorsky S-42 Pan American Clipper

The Boeing 314 Supper Clipper, the largest and most luxurious Pan American flying boat.

In 1936 the 8,210-mile journey from San Francisco to Manila (flown in stages) took six days to complete and cost $1710 (about $28,000 adjusted for inflation). Sourced from here.

Vintage, coin-operated travel insurance

Huge models hang in the museum’s atrium.

Brochures from when flying was cool...

...

...

...and people wore suits.

...

The museum is well worth a look.