TSA History

modes of transporation graphic


On the morning of September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The attacks resulted in the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, designed to prevent similar attacks in the future. Driven by a desire to help our nation, tens of thousands of people joined TSA and committed themselves to strengthening our transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce.

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by the 107th Congress and signed on November 19, 2001, established TSA.


The historical timeline highlights important historical dates, key milestones, transportation security-related events and the security measures implemented to meet the ever-changing threat. Starting with the events of September 11, 2001 and the inception of the TSA, the timeline is a chronological record of TSA’s commitment to protecting the nation.

TSA Mission Hall: A Virtual Exhibit

Welcome to Mission Hall:
Remembering the Past,
Informing the Future.


This tour provides a virtual experience
of TSA’s permanent exhibition.

Enter Exhibit

mission hall

Mission Hall: Remembering the Past, Informing the Future is the permanent exhibition at TSA headquarters highlighting the history of TSA. The exhibit tells the story of how the agency was born from the tragedy of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001 and has evolved into the dynamic agency of today. Serving as a tribute to the entire workforce, the installation represents everyone who plays a vital role at TSA. Each piece tells a story sharing how TSA has changed and how real-world events have shaped the way we secure our homeland.   

Fully updated as part of the move of headquarters from Arlington, VA to Springfield, VA in 2020, Mission Hall documents the establishment, evolution, technology, and timeline of events critical to the history of TSA. This exhibition space is an introductory, educational, and commemorative place where TSA personnel and visitors can learn about the agency and its responsibilities, as well as experience a solemn memorial and take a moment to remember why TSA was created.

Click below to view each section of the exhibit:

TSA Heritage Asset Collection

Mission Hall collection

The TSA Heritage Asset Collection is the core collection of TSA artifacts and memorabilia. These valuable objects document the history and heritage of TSA and illustrate key historic events and moments in history, as well as policies, procedures, and evolutionary changes to mission critical technology and operations. The value of these assets mandates preservation quality care including specialized handling, use, and storage to ensure they are preserved and safeguarded for future generations.