James S. McDonnell Prologue Room in St. Louis

Portraying more than a century of milestones, the Prologue Room showcases aircraft and spacecraft that shaped aerospace history and the achievements of thousands who turned dreams into reality.

An Air and Space History Exhibit

From biplanes to space capsules, the Prologue Room displays artifacts and models that trace the history of Boeing and its heritage companies: McDonnell, Douglas, North American Aviation, Hughes, Jeppesen, Piasecki and Stearman. Hundreds of scale models, photographs, paintings and artifacts tell an amazing story of discovery. Highlights include full-scale mockups of the Mercury and Gemini space capsules, an F-4 Phantom II ejection seat and an aircraft lineage timeline that traces all McDonnell Douglas products from 1920 – 1997.

Picture of a space capsule.

Plan Your Visit

Self-Guided Tours

The Prologue Room is open to the general public for self-guided tours during the summer months only: June, July and August, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday - Friday. The exhibit is not open on weekends. Reservations are not required for self-guided tours, and walk-in visitors are welcome. Accommodations include:

  • Free admission
  • Free parking
  • Cameras permitted
  • Wheelchair accessible

The Prologue Room is located in the Boeing-St. Louis headquarters Building 100 at the corner of McDonnell Boulevard and Airport Road, adjacent to St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are available to organized groups of 10 - 30 throughout the year on Mondays and Tuesdays during normal business hours. Guided tours are available any weekday during the summer months, June, July and August. Tours take about one hour and are free of charge. Reservations are required. Email PrologueRoom@Boeing.com for more information.

Educational Field Trips

The Prologue Room offers field trips for middle school students to explore aerospace and history. To promote interaction and ensure educational effectiveness, groups are limited to a maximum of 30 students during the traditional school year (Sept. - May). Tours are available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Email PrologueRoom@Boeing.com for more information.

Mystery of Flight

The Mystery of Flight program is designed for students in fourth grade or above. This program provides an overview of how airplanes work and how they’ve evolved over the generations, and includes a fascinating study of spaceflight. This program lasts approximately one hour and includes the following:

  • An introduction to flight (from 1903 to today) and a brief video explaining the basic principles of flight:
    • The four components of flight
    • Why airplanes have curved wings
    • The job of the tail, the flaps and the rudder
    • Who are the Wright Brothers, Bernoulli and Newton?
  • A guided tour of the Prologue Room where the lessons of flight come to life

An additional video titled “Adventures in Space” can be added to field trips. This video explains the basic principles of rockets and space flight in a fun and easy-to-understand manner. Request this video when making reservations.

Picture of the Boeing commercial family of airplanes.

Exhibit Pieces

Picture of a variety of aircraft exhibit pieces on display.

The Prologue Room portrays more than a century of aviation progress through the innovative airplanes and spacecraft the men and women of Boeing and its heritage companies built.

Visitors can view large-scale models of the F-15E Strike Eagle, F/A-18 Super Hornet, AH-64D Apache and T-7A Red Hawk. An unmanned display features an operational ScanEagle and a scale model of the MQ-25 Stingray.

Wind-tunnel-size models include Boeing’s newest 787 Dreamliner, C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft, a U.S. Navy Blue Angel and Air Force One.

Displays of rockets and missiles include full-scale models of a Harpoon radar-guided missile, a JDAM smart weapon and a Small Diameter Bomb.

At the exhibit’s center are full-size engineering mockups of the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft that carried America's first astronauts into space. Also on display are models of the Space Shuttle, Skylab and the International Space Station.

Guests can also view a rare collection of fine art, including one of the largest collections of paintings by famed aviation artist R.G. Smith. His bold and dramatic work captures significant achievements in flight, space travel and world history.