Aeronautics Department Curator

Dr. Alex M Spencer curates two collections at the museum: British and European military aircraft and military flight material. The aircraft collection that includes the museum’s captured German aircraft such as the Messerschmitt Bf.109, Heinkel He 219, Focke Wulf Fw 190 and the British aircraft collection includes a Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and deHavilland Mosquito. The flight material collection encompasses over 16,000 artifacts of personal items including uniforms, flight clothing, memorabilia, and ribbons and medals.

At the Museum, Dr. Spencer curated the exhibit The National Transportation Safety Board, in 1996 that centered on the NTSB’s 50th Anniversary, investigative process and safety recommendations. He also co-curated the Birth of the Balloon in the Dibner Library Gallery at the National Museum American History in Washington, DC. He also curated numerous exhibition cases of uniforms and memorabilia at the museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. He was a member of the curatorial team for the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall renovation in 2016.

Dr. Spencer research focuses on British and Commonwealth military aviation during the twentieth century. He is co-editor of The National Air and Space Museum an Autobiography (National Geographic, 2010) and The History of Rocketry and Astronautics vol. 14, (AIAA, 1993). In Spring 2020, his book British Imperial Air Power: the Royal Air Forces and the Defense of Australia and New Zealand between the Wars, was published by Purdue University Press. He presented at numerous conferences including Mutual Concerns of Aviation and Space Museums, National Popular Culture Association, Artefacts Society, and Society for Military History.

Dr. Spencer earned a BA and MA in Modern European history from the Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in Modern European history from Auburn University.

Contact Information (202) 633-2646
Related stories
Story Landings are Mandatory: Lt. Don Engen and the Mirror Landing System
Story Porokoru Patapu “John” Pohe: The first Māori trained as a pilot to serve in the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Story Stefan A. Cavallo: Test Pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)
Story The Cactus Air Force’s Forgotten Spine: The Royal New Zealand Air Force at Guadalcanal
Story Felice Figus, Regia Aeronautica Pilot
Story A Curator on Configuring WWII Military Medals