Topic

Balloons & Airships

Showing 1 - 10 of 39
Sun, July 21 2019

The “First” Members of the Caterpillar Club

Only two survived the crash of the Wingfoot Express—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot.  They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.

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Tue, June 4 2019

Protecting the Beaches with Balloons: D-Day and the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion

The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, the only unit that stormed the beach at Normandy on June 6, 1944, that was comprised entirely of African American soldiers, played a vital role in protecting the ships and soldiers during the D-Day invasion.

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Tue, April 2 2019

Remembering Julian Nott, Ballooning Pioneer

The world of sport aviation suffered a tragic loss on March 25, 2019, with the death of Julian R.P. Nott after an accident on the ground following a successful landing of an experimental balloon. Nott was one of the founders of the modern sport ballooning movement and an innovator in the field.

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Thu, March 28 2019

The Many Flights of the Czar of Baseball

In the wake of the Black Sox Scandal, Baseball was looking to restore its integrity with a leader with his feet firmly on the ground. They elected Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first Commissioner (or “Czar”) of Baseball.  A long-serving jurist from Chicago, Landis was known for his decisions against big businesses, such as Standard Oil, and for slipping out to Cubs and White Sox games.  But Landis also had his head in the clouds, a true aviation enthusiast!

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Wed, August 8 2018

Kiddo the Cat, Reluctant Aviator

On October 15, 1910, Kiddo the cat became the first of his kind to attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean by airship—and he wasn’t very happy about it.

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Sat, July 28 2018

Bird’s Eye Viewfinder: 160 Years of Aerial Photography

In 1858, French photographer Gaspar Félix Tournachon took a photo of a village from his hot air balloon--the first aerial photograph. Since then, aerial photography has changed how we see the world around us. 

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Wed, June 6 2018

Using Science to Solve an Object Mystery

Conservationist and decorate art historians help solve a mystery behind two balloon-themed chairs in our Museum's collection. 

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Fri, November 3 2017

"Kiss Me Darling:" Conserving the Rituals of Dating and Dancing

The Clouds in a Bag exhibit at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, displays many early renditions of ballooning, including a 18th-19th century dance box. Take a look at the conservation process behind this charming object. 

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Fri, June 23 2017

Famous Signatures and Detailed Artwork in the Library

A fan of what he calls “the older stuff,” librarian Phil Edwards shared with me seven of the library’s most prized possessions and lesser-known gems just in time for Museum Week’s Book Day (#BooksMW).

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Mon, May 8 2017

Lost Balloons: Depicting the Dangers of Early Ballooning

The dangers of ballooning were apparent to aeronauts and the general public. From the early 1800s, attempts to fly over water too often ended in disaster or a narrow escape. Some of the best known aeronauts on both sides of the Atlantic set off across a large body of water never to be seen again. The daring rescue of balloonists from water was a favorite subject with artists and engravers. The vision of a “lost balloon” vanishing over the horizon became a metaphor for the uncertainties of life in the turbulent 19th century.  

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