A new museum celebrates Delta’s journey from crop-dusting company to one of the world’s largest commercial air carriers.
In two vintage hangars next door to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Llnes relives its journey from a crop-dusting operation founded in Macon, Georgia, to one of the world’s largest commercial air carriers.
The Delta Flight Museum opened in October 2014 at the company’s corporate headquarters with an exhibit designed by Lorenc+Yoo Design (Atlanta), in collaboration with S&W Architects.
Lorenc+Yoo master planned the visitor flow into the space, developed the exhibits’ storylines, and populated the space with historic Delta aircraft, including the pivotal Delta Crop Duster, Delta’s DC-3 “Ship 41,”and the “Spirit of Delta,” a fully-sized Boeing 767-200 purchased by Delta employees in 1982 to demonstrate their commitment to the company.
The exhibit takes visitors through the glory days of air travel, from the prop era to the jet age. Interactive exhibits, electronic media, and a sleek setting communicate the company’s brand and mission.
When visitors enter the museum, they encounter a lobby space dominated by a huge jet engine mounted on the wall beside the company’s mission statement. The first leg of the journey is through the Prop Age hall, where the Delta Crop Duster is suspended from the ceiling and Delta’s first passenger carrier sits on a turntable in the middle of the room. Exhibits and vintage artifacts interpret the company’s origins in aerial crop dusting and its eventual move to passenger travel. A “stream” behind the crop duster winds its way into a transition hallway leading to the Jet Age hall. A dramatic tunnel space is anchored by a spinning jet engine that blocks visitors’ view of what’s to come.
The Jet Age Hall is a huge multi-use space that Delta uses for graduation ceremonies, employee and alumni events, and outside event rentals. Exhibits focus on logistics, maintenance, travel routes, and other operational aspects of an international airline. Exhibit panels are reminiscent of an aircraft aesthetic, and Lorenc+Yoo employed luggage carts as the casework framing some exhibit content. Flight simulators throughout the museum permit visitors to experience piloting various Delta aircraft.
The Delta Flight Museum’s energy is unique to a world-class airline. As visitors move into the Jet Age portion from the slower-paced Prop Era hall, they walk through a short tunnel in which rapid winds and jet engine sounds spin in the distance. This feature preserves the sense of surprise until the visitor formally enters the Jet Age Hall, the most expansive room of the museum. In addition to being open to the general public–a new feature for this museum that used to be restricted to those possessing special airport visitors’ badges–Delta Air Lines also uses the museum for internal graduation ceremonies, employee events, alumni functions, and as a corporate event space for neighbors such as Porsche. Lorenc+Yoo designed the exhibits in the Jet Age hall to be movable, and programmed storage space so they can be cleared from the usable space as needs dictate.
You can view a virtual, pre-construction animated tour of the new museum before your visit.
Client: Delta Air Lines Flight Museum
Open Date: October 2014
Design: Lorenc+Yoo Design
Design Team: Jan Lorenc (design director), Steve McCall (designer)
Project Architect: Stevens & Wilkinson
Consultants: Gary Lee Super Associates (exhibit design)
Fabricator: Murphy & Orr
Photos: Rion Rizzo, Creative Sources Photography
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