Every Collection has a StoryThe Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.

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Today in Smithsonian History

Wright Flyer in A&I, by Unknown, 1950s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 2003-19574.

January 30, 1948

Upon the death of Orville Wright on January 30, 1948, the Smithsonian's U.S. National Museum learns that Orville Wright had instructed that the original Wright Flyer, the first aircraft capable of flight carrying a man under its own power, which first flew on 17 December 1903, should be donated to the National Museum.  This donation ends a long dispute between the Wright Brothers and the Smithsonian over the first machine capable of flight.More

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