Skip to main content
Menu

SIGN UP

Authentic TWA uniforms — Balmain, Valentino, Stan Herman — are on display. (TWA Hotel/David Mitchell)
TWA Hotel Uniforms

Museum Exhibits

The New-York Historical Society curated exhibitions celebrating TWA's history.

A flight attendant’s log detailing five years of airborne adventures. Vintage furniture from the TWA headquarters. In-flight amenities — gilded playing cards, silver serving ware — from a more elegant era. These are just some of the items showcased at the TWA Hotel. The New-York Historical Society — founded in 1804 as New York’s first museum — curated the exhibits, which are free of charge and always open to the public.

Located in various spots throughout the former TWA terminal — the heart of our hotel — as well as in our event center and in the areas that connect our hotel flight tubes to JetBlue's Terminal 5, the exhibits allow visitors to experience the Jet Age through authentic artifacts, interactive displays and personal narratives.

 Museum Amenities
Former TWA employees and their families donated many personal items, including photos, letters and even an autograph given to a flight attendant by passenger Kirk Douglas.

In the years before the TWA Hotel opened, MCR/MORSE Development collected more than 2,000 artifacts that trace the TWA story for future exhibits. Most of the items were donated by former TWA employees and their families.

 TWA Museum Kids
Tin toys, a magic board along with official junior hostess and pilot pins, provided entertainment for kids.

MCR/MORSE hired an archivist to catalog and preserve each item and partnered with the New-York Historical Society to develop the exhibits. The team’s research took them from Kansas City — home of the TWA Museum — to Yale University’s Saarinen archives to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which donated blueprints of the TWA terminal.

 The office of Howard Hughes
Take a seat at the desk of Howard Hughes.

Exhibits focus on TWA’s history — including Howard Hughes’ tenure as owner — and Saarinen’s development of the terminal at Idlewild Airport (as JFK was formerly known). The offices of both men are recreated with period-perfect details, inviting guests to imagine themselves at Saarinen's drafting table or behind Hughes's desk.

 The 1962 Living Room
It's always a party in the 1962 Living Room! Photo by Black Haus Creative

Visitors can explore 37 full TWA uniforms from 1945 to 2001, original TWA travel posters by David Klein and large-scale TWA artifacts (a luggage tug!). In an authentic recreation of a 1962 living room, guests are encouraged to try on retro fashions, admire an original Barbie Dreamhouse and enjoy the far-out furnishings. Future exhibits will delve into the dawn of the Jet Age in NYC and the midcentury modern design movement.

 New-York Historical Society Museum & Library Logo

The terminal is the perfect place for visitors to discover more about aviation history, says Mike Thornton, a curator for the New-York Historical Society: “The Saarinen terminal is a monument to the optimism and vision of the Jet Age. These exhibitions invite people into the glamour and fun that Saarinen and TWA worked so hard to create and foster.”

Collection by the Numbers

2,367
Total Artifacts Accessioned
642
Uniform Pieces (Pilot’s Hats, Serving Smocks and More)
338
Dining Service Items From Chopsticks to Gravy Boats
247
In-Flight Amenities
65
Complete Uniforms From 1945 to 2001
62
David Klein Travel Posters
39
In-Flight Menus
18
Children's Activities
8
Plane Models and Toys

For information on donating items to the TWA museum exhibitions, email [email protected]twahotel.com

 

 TWA Hotel Exhibition Team

Curator: New-York Historical Society

Creative Director: Tara Romeo

Exhibition Designer: Esposito Design Studio, LLC

TWA Hotel Collection Archivist: Erica Hornung

Graphic Designer: Victor Thompson

Writer: Mary Kate Frank

Textile Conservator: J. Leia Lima Baum

See Snapshots of the TWA Hotel

Scroll through photo galleries of the TWA Flight Center, hotel amenities, guestrooms, event spaces and museum exhibits.

Get a Glimpse

Book an Event for 2019 and Beyond

TWA Hotel’s 50,000 square feet of event space holds up to 1,600 people.

See the Space

Visit Our TWA Lounge

See all the way to JFK from One World Trade Center.

Look Around