Entrance Clock to the Exhibition
A working clock greets you as you enter the Time and Navigation exhibition.
Credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

What did 19th-century mariners have in common with Charles Lindbergh?

How does NASA manage to land a rover in a precise location 35 million miles away?

Have you ever wondered how a sextant works?

How does a nuclear submarine find its way beneath the waves?

Visit Time and Navigation to find out!

Time and Navigation explores the surprising connection between time and place. Whether you are using the stars to navigate the open seas or a smartphone to locate a new restaurant, if you want to know where you are, you need an accurate clock. The exhibition also examines the technological history and cultural impact of the tools of navigation, from sextants to satellites.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • The first sea-going marine chronometer made in the United States
  • The submarine navigation system from the USS Alabama
  • A TRANSIT navigation satellite
  • Wiley Post's airplane, the Winnie Mae
  • Stanley, a robotic vehicle that can drive itself

Planning a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC?
Stop by the Time and Navigation exhibition in person.

This exhibition is a joint effort between the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History.


6th & Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20560
Admission is FREE

10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily
Closed December 25
See extended hours calendar »


Check in with us on Foursquare

If you visit the exhibition in person, you can check in on and earn your Navigator badge. Share your navigation story on your favorite social network with #TimeNav.