Cyrus K. Bettis was a leading US Army Air Service pilot in the 1920s that became the world’s fastest air racer in 1925. In July 2018, members of his family visited the Museum to donate artifacts and archival materials documenting his life near the airplane that he flew and the prizes that he won.
While Bessie Coleman never realized her dream of opening a flight school for African American pilots, her legacy as the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license has impacted and inspired flight students for decades.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has the world’s premier collection of aviation and space artifacts. Less well-known is that the museum also has an outstanding collection of aerospace models.
When a team accomplishes what, at times, seemed impossible, it becomes a victory for all—an entire city or country, or all humankind. We see this in milestones throughout aviation history, and we celebrate those shared victories throughout our Museum. And when a sports team brings a championship to a city that hasn’t seen one in 25 years, the whole city comes out to celebrate.
Over the years I’ve spent curating the National Air and Space Museum’s uniform and flight clothing collection, I have received many inquiries. One of the most frequently ask questions concerns the placement of Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle's Medal of Honor ribbon on his wartime uniform.