PHOTOS: Air and Space Museum in Washington

The Air and Space Museum is located in the very centre of Washington, at the National Mall.  Like the majority of Washington museums, it is part of Smithsonian Institution, so the entrance is free of charge, but donations are welcome.

Something brought from other planets is certainly kept inside these stony cubes ;-)

Voyager.  The first non-stop and non-refuelled flight around the world was made on this plane in 1986.

The car of Breitling Orbiter 3 stratospheric balloon.  Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones made in it a non-stop flight around the world in 1999.  It was the first flight like that made in a balloon.

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Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

During the New Year holidays, I went, among others, to the museum of Soviet game-playing machines near Baumanskaya metro station.  Manufacturing of such machines was a full-blown industry in the USSR.  I mean, of course, not the ‘one arm bandits’ for gambling, which are, in fact, a kind of an electric roulette and came to Russia only in post-Soviet time, but the devices intended for the process of game itself, although one had to pay fifteen kopecks for it.  Their successors were the so called home computers like the Soviet Mikrosha or Western ZX Spectrum, gaming consoles, portable devices like tetris or PSP, games for cell phones and so on.  There are some forty arcade machines at the museum, many of them are still at work.  Some of them were brought from forsaken Pioneer camps in the province ;-)

The museum is open every day, its website has an English version.  The ticket costs 350 roubles, the price includes fifteen old Soviet fifteen-kopeck coins.  Along with the gaming machines, there are also some other exhibits: an old coin-operated luggage locker, and old cash register, several old drinks machines (at work, old one- and three-kopeck coins can be bought for additional payment), two old coin telephones (also at work, located in the opposite corners of the museum and connected to each other so that visitors can talk on them free of charge).  There is even an old instant photo booth that makes photos on a real photographic paper (the process of printing lasts about four minutes).

If you ever come to Moscow, or to Saint-Petersburg, you can include this museum to your plans!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it :-)