Dr. Peter Jakab

  • Chief Curator

Peter Jakab

Dr. Peter L. Jakab is chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.  Formerly he served as the Museum’s associate director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs. He has been with the Museum since 1983.  He holds a BA, MA, and PhD in American history from Rutgers University.  Areas of specialization include the history of technology, aerospace history, and American social and cultural history.  Prior museum work includes stays at the Edison National Historic Site, West Orange, N.J., and the New Jersey Historical Commission.  He also spent a year with the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project and two years teaching American history at Rutgers University during his graduate study.  During his stay at the Museum, he has curated numerous exhibitions and frequently lectured on the history of technology; the history of invention; the Wright brothers and pioneer aviation; and First World War aviation.  His most recent exhibition is Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds, at the National Air and Space Museum, featuring the original da Vinci Codex.  Major exhibitions include The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age, which opened at the National Air and Space Museum in October 2003.  His publications include the books Visions of a Flying Machine: The Wright Brothers and the Process of Invention (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990); Icare: revue de l'aviation française, #147, Les Frères Wright, 1994; The Published Writings of Wilbur and Orville Wright (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000), and The Wright Brothers and The Invention of the Aerial Age (National Geographic Society, 2003), the companion book to the exhibition.

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