The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age
Opening in 2022

Artist's rendering of The Wright Brothers & Invention of the Aerial Age exhibition.

The exhibition is scheduled to open in fall 2022 and will explore 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.

Large exhibition panels featuring images and information about the Wright brothers and the Wright brothers family orient visitors to the content of the gallery before they step beyond the panels for the “reveal” of the Wright Flyer at the center of the space.


The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of:

David M. Rubenstein

Frederick and Barbara Clark Telling

Tom and Eileen Culligan
Julia and Frank Daniels Jr.
James M. and Anita K. Guyette
Spirit AeroSystems


Exhibition Preview

    Artist's overhead rendering of the new gallery

    The original 1903 Wright Flyer on display as the centerpiece of The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

    Because of its size and weight, the Flyer could not be hand launched like the Wright gliders. The brothers built a 60-foot launching rail from four 15-foot two-by-fours laid end to end. To take off, the airplane rode down this track on a small, wheeled dolly or “truck,” as the Wrights called it. The brothers referred to their launching track as the “Grand Junction Railroad.”

Behind the Scenes

"Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age" Gallery

Related Topics