Tom Crouch joined the Smithsonian in 1974 and has served both the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History in a variety of curatorial and administrative posts. Prior to coming to the Smithsonian he was employed by the Ohio Historical Society as director of education (1969-1973) and as director, Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission (1973-1974).
Dr. Crouch holds a BA (1962) from Ohio University, an MA (1968) from Miami University and a PhD (1976) from the Ohio State University. All of his degrees are in history. In addition, he holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, conferred in June 2001 by the Wright State University.
He is the author or editor of a number of books and many articles for both popular magazines and scholarly journals. These include: The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright (New York: W.W. Norton, 1989); Eagle Aloft: Two Centuries of the Balloon in America (Washington, D.C.: The Smithsonian Institution Press, 1983); Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age (NY: W.W. Norton, 2003); A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane, 1875-1905 (New York: W.W. Norton, Inc., 1981); Bleriot XI: The Story of a Classic Airplane (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982); Rocketeers and Gentlemen Engineers (Reston, Va: AIAA, 2006), and Lighter-Than-Air: An Illustrated History of Balloons and Airships (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).
Dr. Crouch has won a number of major writing awards, including the history book prizes offered by both the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Aviation/Space Writers Association. He received a 1989 Christopher Award, a literary prize recognizing "significant artistic achievement in support of the highest values of the human spirit," for The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright. His book, Wings: A History of Aviation From Kites to the Space Age, won the AIAA Gardner-Lasser Literature Prize for 2005, an award presented to the best book selected in that year from all books in the field of aerospace history published in the last five years.
Throughout his career, Dr. Crouch has played a major role in planning museum exhibitions. He was involved in planning exhibitions for the Neil Armstrong Museum, Wapakoneta, Ohio; the Ohio Historical Center, Columbus, Ohio; the National Air and Space Museum; the National Museum of American History; and the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum.
In the fall of 2000, President Clinton appointed Dr. Crouch to the Chairmanship of the First Flight Centennial Federal Advisory Board, an organization created to advise the Centennial of Flight Commission on activities planned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of powered flight.
Dr. Crouch retired in 2018 and is a curator emeritus.
The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. The objects in this exhibition provide a sense of the wonder and excitement experienced by those who witnessed the birth of flight over two centuries ago.
High Art: A Decade of Collecting presents 50 works acquired by the Museum from 2003 to 2013.
Companion book to the NASM exhibition, The Wright Brothers & the Invention of the Aerial Age.