Paul Garber began working at the Smithsonian Institution in 1920, building models and preparing exhibitions. For the next 72 years he dedicated himself to the preservation of the nation's aeronautical heritage and to sharing his boundless enthusiasm for flight with Smithsonian visitors. He played a key role in the creation of the National Air Museum in 1946, and was indispensable in the effort to construct the present National Air and Space Museum building in Washington, DC, which opened in 1976. Most importantly, Garber, working on his own and with little support, almost single-handedly amassed the finest collection of historic aircraft in the world, including one of the Museum's most prized possessions, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis.