Texas Museum Plays Hide-and-Seek with Aviation History

The Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston turns to strategically placed, aviation-themed stuffed animals as a way to connect with its pint-size visitors.

The Fairchild on display at the Lone Star Flight Museum was a 2023 EAA AirVenture Lindy Award winner. [Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

If you want children to get the most out of a visit to an aviation museum, you need to make the facility relatable. That can be awfully challenging because aircraft can be so complicated that even adults are intimidated. 

The education department at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Houston recognized this and has deployed a cadre of aviation-themed stuffed animals strategically placed in display aircraft to help reach its younger visitors. 

[Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]


The game begins with the children getting a handout that contains images of the stuffed animals (all have names and bios) with a note indicating they are "hiding in the hangar with the airplanes."

In addition to photographs of the stuffed animals, there are hints about the airplane they are on. For example, Jerry the giraffe can be found on an airplane that stands tall, has high windows, and can carry a lot to get the job done. Spoiler alert: You will find him in the cockpit of one of the first executive transports to grace the skies after World War II.

Meanwhile, Dusty the dog likes to fly his airplane low and slow.

[Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

When the children find the plush toys, they have the opportunity to read the informational display that provides details about the aircraft and its role in the history of aviation.

According to museum staff, the animal hunt is designed for first through third graders. For older museum guests, there is a game that has them looking for specific designs on aircraft.

[Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

The beauty of it is that the visitors learn about the aircraft while being entertained.

For the adults it's equally impressive. The Fairchild on display at the museum was a 2023 EAA AirVenture Lindy Award winner. The honor represents the aviation version of an Oscar and is given to aircraft that are meticulously restored to airworthiness.

More information about the Lone Star Flight Museum may be found here.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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