EXHIBITION PRESS KIT
CURATOR'S TOP 13 EXHIBITION ARTIFACTS
•Original 1903 Wright Flyer,
the world’s first airplane flown at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina,
on December 17, 1903.
• Letter the Wright brothers
wrote to the Smithsonian Institution on May 30, 1899, asking for
information about flight. Considered the most important single
item in the Smithsonian Institution Archives collection.
• Original Wright brothers-built
bicycle, one of only five in the world.
• Original wind tunnel instrument,
the lift balance, with which the Wrights performed their pioneering
wind tunnel research that was crucial to the design of their airplane
and formed the foundation of modern aeronautical engineering practice.
• Original fabric that was
on the Wright Flyer when it flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903. (The fabric
has been replaced twice during restorations, once by Orville Wright
himself in 1927, and once by the National Air and Space Museum
• One of the original propellers
that was on the Wright Flyer when it flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903.
Both flown propellers were damaged after the flights and the Wrights
replaced them with the ones on the aircraft now.
• The stopwatch the Wrights
used to time the flights at Kitty Hawk.
• The Cayley silver disc.
One of the most significant artifacts in the history of flight.
English experimenter Sir George Caylay (1773-1857), working in
the late 18th and early 19th century, pioneered the configuration
of the modern airplane of separate wings, control surfaces, and
propulsion system. He commemorated this design breakthrough by
striking an image of his concept of the airplane on a silver disc
in 1799. This artifact is on loan from the Science Museum in London.
It has never been out of the United Kingdom before.
• An original vertical four-cylinder
Wright engine and “bent-end” propeller. This was the
standard engine and propeller used on the aircraft the Wrights
demonstrated in Europe and America in 1908 and 1909, and what
they offered for sale when they opened their aircraft manufacturing
company in 1910.
• Extremely rare door-size
poster from the 1910 Belmont Park aviation meet held in New York.
Belmont Park was one of the most important early flying events
and the Wright brothers attended.
• An original Robert Delaunay
painting. Delaunay (1885-1941) was one of the leading avant-garde
artists of the day, and like many of his contemporaries, was greatly
inspired by the new technology of flight and created numerous
works with aviation themes.
• An original 1910 Alfred
Steiglitz (1864-1946) photogravure entitled “The Aeroplane,”
which depicts a Wright airplane in flight.
• A piece of fabric and wood
from the Wright Flyer taken to the surface of the Moon by the
crew of Apollo 11, the first lunar landing mission, in July 1969.
Brothers Exhibition Press Kit