Smithsonian national air and space museum display

In 1974 the director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution (Moon Astronaut Michael Collins) ,under construction at the time, asked me to design and donate ammunition displays for the various halls of the museum which would display war planes. Only one was finished before the opening deadline July 1976. This display in the WW2 hall shows aircraft ammunition for five countries ; The United States, Great Britain , Italy , Germany and Japan and reflects weapons used on aircraft in the collection in that hall. The project director ,the late Wayne Markov of Norton Ohio , inerted all of the specimens for the display. Several ICCA( IAA predecessor) members contributed specimens and efforts including WOODIN LAB , FLETCHER MONDLOCH , DAVID WALSH ,HAL LOWE , PAUL VAN HEE , CHARLES YUST , PETER LABBETT , PAT BURNS, CLIFFORD SCHISLER and others who may have to remind me. The majority of the specimens were donated by CRITTENDEN SCHMITT ARCHIVES . The display has been very popular with veterans and has been seen by more people than any other ammunition display in history. The NASM , Washington DC, is the most visited museum in the world.

The Schmitt family enjoys the display which is located next to the display of the DOOLITTLE TOKYO RAIDERS which includes the General’s many decorations.

That is amazing! Increadible and comprehensive display. Thanks for posting that.

new photo

That display is incredible! Beyond comprehensive. You definitely have extreme skills as well as knowledge. I really like all the airplane models incorporated into the display along with the ammunition and medals.

It’s the real deal, and as an IAA member, makes me proud to see the foresight someone had, and followed through, years ago. Also sad, that there is not more of it, no fault of CSAEOD, wished we could push for more, but no likely in this “day and time”. Well done, have visited it several times

You & CSAEOD are legendary display creators. Just from looking at the photos of your “Flechette” & " LTL" displays and this amazing Smithsonian Japanese display by CSAEOD, I was blown away by how comprehensive and thorough they are. Just incredible how every aspect is covered & connected in these educational and historic displays. I’d send you both an extreme trophy, but in this case it would have to be a Inert Nike Missile or something to be of merit :-) Anyhow, I am new to this, but displays like these made by private collectors totally blow my hair back! Thanks allot for sharing your photos & knowledge.

The Smithsonian does not care about ammunition. This display was a political quid pro quo.

The display for the new museum has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

While Smithsonian may be disinterested in ammo, arms, and armies, other repositories may be more receptive. The USAF Air Armament museum at Hurlburt Field, FL is “is the only museum in the world dedicated to the collection, preservation, and exhibition of the artifacts and memorabilia associated with the Air Force armament and its platforms of delivery.”

I guess that the weapons and their ammo are the things that make them different from your average people hauling passenger planes. It is sad that so few of the aviation museums have even token interest in such things.

Unlike Smithsonian, most military museums are poorly funded and depend heavily on donated labor and artifacts to make anything at all happen.

I had to go back to this thread as the display is so incredible. I can only imagine how long it took to create as it so comprehensive.

John S.

Not to be critical, but to help any members who might want to visit: this museum is outside EGLIN AFB, towards FT Walton Beach/Shalimar. It is not at Hurlburt Field, or “Eglin Aux Field 9” which is about ten miles or so West of Eglin. Great museum, with some aircraft guns and ammo. Predominant interest is of course aircraft. Free admission, and recently changed hours. Hurlburt also has a great display of aircraft, outside, but you need identification to get on base. The Armament Museum, on Eglin property, is NOT within the actual base, therefore no ID is required.


Please note that this display is in Washington DC at the National Air and Space Museum.

That display ROCKS! I know you have built many displays in your day but you should be super proud of that one. It looks like a big undertaking and is spectacular!


That really is one of the nicest displays. I hope to see it in person one day.