Dr. Jeremy R. Kinney is the Chair of the Aeronautics Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. He curates three collections at the Museum: interwar and World War II American military aviation, air racing, and aircraft propulsion. They number approximately 4,000 artifacts and range in size from a small puddle carburetor from 1911 to military fighter and bomber aircraft from World War II. All three collections document how communities developed high performance aircraft and technology to express their visions of what flight could achieve for humankind in times of peace and war. In addition to collecting, interpreting, and documenting those artifacts, Kinney has been involved in several preservation and restoration projects, including the Curtiss R3C-2 racer, the Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver dive-bomber, and the Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait medium bomber.
Dr. Kinney’s research focuses on technology in the United States and Europe over the course of the twentieth century. He is the author of Reinventing the Propeller: Aeronautical Specialty and the Triumph of the Modern Airplane (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which received a 2018 Secretary's Research Prize at the Smithsonian and the 2020 Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His other publications include The Power for Flight: NASA’s Contributions to Aircraft Propulsion (NASA, 2017), Airplanes: The Life Story of a Technology (Greenwood Press, 2006; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), essays in various anthologies, and articles in ICON and Journal of Aircraft. He is co-author of Alaska and the Airplane: A Century of Flight (Braun, 2013). His current research interests include international air racing in the 1920s and 1930s and the history of the European sports car in the United States after 1945.
Dr. Kinney is a contributor to the multi-volume The Wind and Beyond: A Documentary Journey into the History of Aerodynamics in America, published by NASA. For his work on Volume One of The Wind and Beyond, he is a co-recipient of the inaugural Eugene Ferguson Prize given by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). The Ferguson Prize is named in honor of one of SHOT’s pioneering members and recognizes an outstanding and original reference work that will support future scholarship in the history of technology.
At the Museum, Dr. Kinney was co-curator for the Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery at the Museum in Washington, DC. He also curated exhibits and displays on aircraft propulsion systems, military aviation, and jet aircraft. Outside the National Air and Space Museum, Dr. Kinney has served as guest curator for aviation and technology-themed exhibitions at the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and the Coventry Transport Museum in England.
Dr. Kinney earned a BA from Greensboro College and an MA and PhD in history from Auburn University. During his graduate work, he was a University Presidential Graduate Fellow and was awarded both the American Historical Association/NASA Aerospace History Fellowship and the National Air and Space Museum’s Guggenheim Fellowship. He has also taught courses in aerospace history at the University of Maryland at College Park, George Mason University, and New York University.