AidSpace Blog

Category Archives: Hidden Treasures

Obscure Objects: Ruth Law’s World War I Liberty Bonds Leaflet

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No one could say Ruth Law was a novice. She had been flying since 1912. She was the first woman to fly at night, in a biplane purchased from Orville Wright. She was the first woman to make a living as a professional pilot, ferrying guests to and from the Clarendon Hotel near Daytona, Florida,   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Presidential Writings Reveal Early Interest in Ballooning

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Lots of museums and historical institutions have letters from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in their collection, but why would a museum dedicated to aviation, space exploration, and planetary science? Ballooning, that’s why. The advent of human flight started in June 1783 in France. Two brothers named Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier demonstrated the first hot-air   …Continue Reading


The Monkey Who Nearly Flew Around the World

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Happy Chinese New Year! To celebrate the Year of the Monkey we wanted to share one special monkey from our collection. Maggie, a stuffed spider monkey, has an especially interesting story. She was a part of the U.S. Army’s attempt to become the first to circumnavigate the world by airplane in 1924. Unwilling to hand   …Continue Reading


Obscure Objects: Apollo Inflight Exerciser

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Here on Earth, everyone knows exercise is important, but in the weightless environment of space, it’s really important. Research at the Johnson Space Center shows that being in a restricted low-gravity space for long periods of time reduces bone density, causes muscular atrophy, induces loss of calcium, and introduces possible metabolic and cardiovascular problems. That   …Continue Reading


From the Library: Orville Wright Signed Book

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On September 24, 1959, President Eisenhower declared December 17 to be Wright Brothers Day—thus commemorating the anniversary of the legendary duo’s flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. In honor of Wright Brothers Day, Smithsonian Libraries and the National Air and Space Museum turn to a piece of history found in the special collections housed in   …Continue Reading