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Tag Archives: balloon

Fans of the National Air and Space Museum

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Eighteenth century ladies fans are not something visitors normally expect to encounter in the National Air and Space Museum. Nevertheless, we have them! The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection, acquired in 2014 thanks to the generosity of the Norfolk Charitable Trust, includes over 1,000 works of art, prints, posters, objects, manuscripts, and   …Continue Reading


Love is in the Air

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Aerial weddings may now be considered quite commonplace.  Just a quick online search turns up a number of places that provide skydiving services.  But in the nineteenth century, the idea of flying at all was still exciting.  Balloon weddings?  Those were spectacles! Mary West Jenkins and Dr. John F. Boyton intended to be married on   …Continue Reading


Watching the War From Above

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The nation is in the process of commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and those of us at the Smithsonian are very much involved, searching our collections for items that will help our visitors better understand the conflict that divided 19th century America. As might be expected, the National Museum of American History,   …Continue Reading


Hiding in Plane Sight

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At this time of year when apparitions and fanciful creatures stroll sidewalks in search of treats, it’s a good time to remember that not all aircraft are what they seem. In World War One, observation balloons were the bane of the battlefield.  Under their prying eyes, it was hard to surprise someone on the other   …Continue Reading


Runaway Balloons

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The afternoon of October 15, 2009 was one of those rare moments when Americans from coast-to-coast were riveted to their television sets by a news story unfolding in real time.  Six year old Falcon Heene was reported to be trapped aboard a helium balloon floating across the Colorado landscape at 7000 feet. The image on   …Continue Reading