The National Aviation Hall of Fame and Wings Over the Rockies Unite to Preserve Wright
Artifact Irreplaceable Propeller Now Being Curated by Colorado Museum
Denver, CO – March 26, 2018 – The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that their Wright Model K Propeller signed by Orville Wright at his home in Dayton in 1944 is on loan to Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum (Wings) in Denver, Colorado for an initial term of five years.
“Our mission is to honor people and not things. Our propeller is now going to be on display for our entire nation to view at the world class facilities of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum,” says NAHF Chairman Michael Quiello. “Our desire is two-fold; one is to ensure that this unique piece of aviation history is properly maintained so that future generations can see it and, two, to expand our brand by tying this piece of Dayton and the NAHF to an aviation-rich demographic that wouldn’t otherwise get to see it.”
Wings Over the Rockies is located in Denver and acts as the primary stewards of aerospace for the state of Colorado. Its mission, like the NAHF, serves to preserve the rich heritage of aerospace in the United States and use it to inspire youth. “Last year, Wings welcomed nearly 150,000 people,” reports Wings President & CEO Major General John Barry, USAF (Ret). “Guests came from 50 states and 33 countries. We are delighted to share this significant piece of aviation history with our visitors.”
While the NAHF, located near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH, receives almost 300,000 visitors a year, the facility is not a museum and does not display artifacts. According to NAHF Executive Director Amy Spowart, “Our Learning Center shares the lives of our Enshrinees in narrative form and uses interactives to engage visitors in some of their remarkable achievements. We currently cannot provide a safe display area for this one-of-a-kind piece.”
The Wright propeller was owned by a worker from the Wright Aeroplane Company who received it when the Company closed. According to oral history, just prior to closing the doors for the final time, Orville Wright granted permission for loyal employees to take pieces of flyers with them on their last day(s) to thank them and to tidy the building up prior to vacating. In 1944, the sons of the worker who was given the prop took it to Hawthorne Hill to show Orville. The surviving Wright Brother welcomed them and signed the prop and the owners went on their way. Before the NAHF acquired the propeller in 2004, the previous owner lent it to various museums for a nationwide tour. After that tour, it returned to Dayton and was sold to the NAHF.
“I am humbled and honored to care for this one-of-a-kind-artifact,” said Wings Curator Matthew Burchette. “The NAHF honors Wings by sharing the 1915 Wright Prop (with us). I have designed and created a purpose built case that will protect it from damage from a myriad of potential hazards, including contact from viewers. It is in a very safe place and will be on display with other artifacts from the Wright era.”
Founded in Dayton, OH and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1964, the non-profit NAHF offers programs including the annual Wings of Women (WOW) youth education event and other collaborations that support the mission of the 501(c)(3): “Honoring Aerospace Legends to Inspire Future Leaders.”
About Wings Over the Rockies:
Wings Over the Rockies is a Colorado-based non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring all people about aviation and space endeavors of the past, present and future. By utilizing the Air & Space Museum in Denver’s historic Lowry neighborhood to preserve the past and the Exploration of Flight Center at Centennial Airport to focus on the present and future, Wings strives to encourage the future aerospace leaders of tomorrow. For more information about Wings Over the Rockies please visit WingsMuseum.org, ExplorationOfFlight.org or like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter & Instagram, connect with us on LinkedIn, join us on G+ and subscribe to our YouTube channel.