Wright Flyer Donated to the Smithsonian

Close
Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
Print

Narrow Your Results

Reset

Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.
 

Summary

Upon the death of Orville Wright on January 30, 1948, the United States National Museum at the Smithsonian Institution 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.

Subject

  • Wright, Orville 1871-1948
  • Wright, Wilbur 1867-1912
  • United States National Museum
  • National Air and Space Museum

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • For information on the dispute between the Smithsonian and the Wright Brothers that delayed donation of the aircraft to the National Museum, see Tom Crouch, "Capable of Flight: The Feud between the Wright Brothers and the Smithsonian," Invention and Technology 2 (Spring 1987): 34-46.
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 57.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1949. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1950, p. 3.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

January 30, 1948

Topic

  • Airplanes
  • Antiquities
  • Controversies
  • Aeronautics
  • Inventions
  • Gifts
  • Famous Artifacts
  • National Collections
  • Wright Flyer (Airplane)

Full Record

View Full Record