“Aviation has gone beyond my dreams."
— Orville Wright

The invention of the airplane by Wilbur and Orville Wright is one of the great stories in American history. The Wright brothers’ invention not only solved a long-studied technical problem, but helped create an entirely new world.

The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age explores who Wilbur and Orville Wright were, what they achieved and how they did it, and how the world first reacted to their revolutionary invention. At the center of the story and the heart of the gallery is the 1903 Wright Flyer, one of the most iconic artifacts in the Smithsonian’s collection. 


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Location in Museum National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
Gallery 107
First floor gallery, north side, one right of center.
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Related Topics: Aviation Early flight People Records and Firsts Technology and Engineering Take a Look Inside the Gallery

An overhead rendering of the gallery.

A rendering showing a preview of the inside of the exhibit.

Learn More About the Wrights The Wright Brothers Researching the Wright Way
Dive Deeper into the Wright Brothers' Story
Innovators in Early Flight February 25, 2022 The Airplane in Early 20th Century Culture April 25, 2022 Power and Control in the Air February 14, 2022
Who Were the Wright Brothers? June 20, 2022 Before the Wrights Were Aviators June 22, 2022 The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk June 23, 2022 The Military Gets Its Wings September 09, 2022 The Roar of the Crowd September 09, 2022 Search the Collection

The Museum gratefully acknowledges those who have generously supported this gallery.

David M. Rubenstein

Frederick and Barbara Clark Telling

Tom and Eileen Culligan
Julia and Frank Daniels Jr.
The James Dicke Family
James M. and Anita K. Guyette
C. Jeffrey and Katherine J. Knittel
Spirit AeroSystems

You may also like From the Library: Orville Wright Signed Book December 17, 2015 Early Flight National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC Upcoming Exhibition WINGS: From the Wright Brothers to the Present December 17, 2011 Flight Before the Airplane February 23, 2022 Museum Transformation Be the Spark

A major renovation is underway as we reimagine our galleries and presentation spaces in our iconic National Mall building in Washington, DC. Join us as we inspire a new generation of pioneers and explorers.

Learn About Our Transformation