In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve visits an exhibit about Captain America and the his Howling Commandos. This exhibit is in the Smithsonian Air and Space museum.

However, Captain America and the Howling Commandos seem to have had almost nothing to do with Air or Space. They sometimes used planes to get places, but the exhibit doesn't place any emphases on that.

Wouldn't the Smithsonian Museum of American History be a better choice?

I'm fine with in- or out-of-universe answers for why the exhibit was in the Air and Space Museum.

  • 4
    There is or was an Enola Gay exhibit in the real Air & Space with further displays about its crew; it is possible that the Cap exhibit was an adjunct to some aircraft which he and/or the Howlers were closely associated with.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:39
  • 4
    Of all the Smithsonian museums, I definitely most quickly associate Air & Space with, well, child-attention-grabbing gimmicky exhibits. Certainly not all of them (and hey, I still like the gimmicky exhibits as an adult!), but it doesn't surprise me all that much.
    – KRyan
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:47

2 Answers 2



Although Captain America had a sizeable comicbook following prior to his real adventures, his two major (real world) escapades were both airborne; The infiltration of the Hydra Weapons Facility and his heroic suicide in the Hydra bomber, Valkyrie

Bearing in mind his close association with air power, it makes good sense for Steve (and the Howling Commandos, who evidently were also no strangers to air-drops) to be found in a museum devoted to...

...maintain[ing] the world's largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts, encompassing all aspects of human flight

Out of universe

Alas, the reasons for choosing the museum as a filming location are pretty mundane:

  • The Museum has a substantial tradition of working with the Hollywood studios

  • The Air and Space Museum was conveniently located to where the bulk of the film was being made.

  • Over 100 of the film's crew had already filmed extensively in the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Virginia when making Transformers 3, meaning that they were knowledgeable about the museum's pre-conditions, safety regulations, contractual obligations, etc

For the record, it's worth noting that the museum's (real world) curator, Margaret Weitekamp has openly acknowledged the incongruity between their normal exhibits and the film's depiction of her museum:

Though the museum has curated pop-culture exhibits in the past, Weitekamp says it has no plans to produce any tie-in programs with the Avengers series. “Our focus is on spaceflight, and this is a very earthbound film,” she says.

  • 2
    The American History Museum is only about five minutes away from the Air and Space Museum, so point number two doesn't make sense.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 19:57
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    @RogueJedi - Location might not be the deciding factor, but it explains why they ruled out the Texas Museum of Science and the New Orleans WWII Museum, for instance
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:04
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    of note, TF3 was in the other Air & Space Museum. TF3 takes place in virginia, out by Dulles airport. TWS takes place in the Mall in DC. many logistics may not be quite the same between the two locations.
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:25
  • @phantom42 - I've made that a little clearer. I've not mentioned things like parking, logistics, faciities, etc because obviously those would be different.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:28
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    Right, thought as much. Maybe in MCU Cap was in the Army Air Command or whatever it was called.
    – Broklynite
    Commented May 10, 2016 at 7:36

Possibly because the Museum of American History just recently finished renovations, which, according to Wikipedia, began in 2012. Since much of the museum has been inaccessible for a few years, including during the time that Winter Solder is set, it makes sense that the exhibit would be placed in a different museum.

Also, not every exhibit there is explicitly "Air and Space," as evidenced by the Transformers Exhibit.

  • 4
    The transformers come from space.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:51
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    the transformers exhibit was right next to the sr-71 - the same model that jetfire was in revenge of the fallen
    – phantom42
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:52
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    The Transformers exhibit is there because they filmed a scene there, so it isn't a normal example.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 18:52
  • 1
    @MikeHarris Don't you mean, "robots in disguise"? Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 14:35
  • 2
    @DaveJohnson That was from "'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy," a collection of mis-heard song lyrics. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 14:43

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