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The Birth of Aviation

Exhibit Type: 
Permanent Exhibits
Exhibit Status: 
Current Exhibits

The Wright Brothers' Story as Never Told Before

The Birth of Aviation celebrates the first 100 years of powered, heavier-than-air flight and reveals how an American family changed the world. Setting the stage for the famous first flight, the exhibit begins by describing the atmosphere of progress and invention at the turn of the twentieth century. In France the desire to invent a heavier-than-air flying machine caught hold of a small circle of scientists, engineers, and inventors, whose ideas and experiments influenced two brothers named Orville and Wilbur Wright.

In this exhibit, visitors are able to immerse themselves in the vibrant historical context in which Orville and Wilbur Wright made the dream of flight a reality and the reality an industry. Meet the Wright brothers- and their unheralded sister Katherine- through the oral histories of those who knew them and through the never-before-displayed early documents of the Wright Co. Lively commentary on the Wrights from leading historians, Wright family members, and others are accessible through interactive plasma-screen technology. A model of the 1903 Wright Flyer demonstrates the concept of “wing warping,” while a replica of the 1901 Wright brothers’ wind tunnel reveals the process of experimenting that help perfect a flying machine. 

Rare, one-of-a-kind documents combined with interactive exhibits share the story of the people who turned the dream of flight into an industry that changed the world.