Aviation in Miami: The First 100 Years

On August 30, 2011 through August 22, 2012, The Miami Museum of History will unveil Aviation in Miami: The First 100 Years, a major 2,000 square foot exhibition. Aviation in Miami will explore the extensive engagement Greater Miami and its residents have had with aviation as significant contributors, witnessing spectators and active participants in the industry throughout its twentieth century developments. Nationally prominent aviation figures such as pioneer airplane manufacturer and pilot Glen Curtiss, Pan American World Airways’ founder Juan Trippe and Eastern Airline’s Eddie Rickenbacker made Miami the base of operations for their flying schools and airlines. Miamians and tourists engaged in aviation as eager witnesses not only by attending the first 1911 flight but by flocking regularly to Dinner Key to observe Pan Am seaplanes take of and land and attending Miami’s famous All American Air Races from 1929 to 1950 to watch aviation celebrities such as Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart perform aircraft demonstrations. The exhibition will also go behind-the-scenes to examine the working world of the hundreds of thousands of Miamians who as employees of the local aviation industry actively participated in its operations.

The exhibition will be designed to resemble several airport-related environments including an airplane hangar, an airport ticket counter, baggage handling and security screening areas from different decades. Scale models of airplanes that have been important in Miami’s history and demonstrate the evolution of aviation technology and capacity over the years will serve as a focal point. Flight simulator computer games will allow visitors to experience the multidimensional dynamics of flight. A special section in the exhibition will examine significant airline crashes and hijackings that have occurred in the region including the Cubana and Eastern Airlines hijackings, which helped bring about national changes to aviation flight operations. Aviation in Miami will draw on the collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, The Glenn Curtiss Museum, the Amelia Earhart Archives at Purdue University, the Pan Am Collection of University of Miami, Miami Dade College, Eastern Retirees Association and the significant aviation collection of HistoryMiami.

Aviation in Miami will be accompanied by an extensive online version of the exhibition. HistoryMiami will also ofer a variety of free educational programs on ursday evenings, including model aircraft demonstrations, film screenings and panel discussions by aviation industry personnel. Similar topics will be addressed through hands-on programs for children during the museum’s Family Fun Days on Second Saturdays, as well as other youth programs during the exhibition run.

The opening event takes place on August 30, 5:30pm – 9:00pm located at HistoryMiami, 101 West Flagler Street. History Miami Members welcomed at 5:30 p.m. and free general admission and parking at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center Garage, 50 NW 2 Avenue. Please RSVP by August 27 to 305-375-1618 or email: [email protected]. For more information, please go to www.historymiami.org.