"The Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of women in aviation and space and the documentation of their continuing contributions today and in the future."
More than 25 Years Ago . . . . . . the idea of preserving the history of women in aviation was just a dream. Since then, memorabilia and historical artifacts have been collected, preserved and stored. Today this dream is a reality. The International Women's Air & Space Museum, Inc., opened in March 1986, in Centerville, a suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Since that time we have grown and expanded and were welcomed by the City of Cleveland, Ohio in 1998, where you will find our home at Burke Lakefront Airport. Our exhibits are in the lobby at Burke, as well as the west concourse, and are accessible seven days a week. Since we are located in a public building, museum admission is free!
Did You Know?
Napoleon appointed a woman, Madame Blanchard, as his Chief Air Minister of Ballooning in 1804. Women have a long history of active participation in ballooning. For instance, Connie Wolf, long-time balloonist, loaned her balloon to the motion picture producers of the movie "Around the World in 80 Days." You'll find an exhibit that tells her story at the museum.
The Wright Brothers' sister, although not a pilot herself, encouraged and supported her brothers. She was one of the many "silent" women contributing to the advancement of aviation. A special exhibit on Katharine Wright is on display at the Museum. It is one of many exhibits which illustrate the historic achievements of women in aviation. biplane illustration
An Adventurous Era!
Throughout the 1920s and 30s women were wing-walking, barnstorming, racing their way through aviation history. The most recognized woman pilot of this era, Amelia Earhart, is the focus of an exhibit at the Museum. The museum displays her flight suit and nurse's uniform from WWI, among other things. A contemporary of Earhart in the early days was Nancy Hopkins Tier, former President of the International Women's Air & Space Museum. Ruth Nichols was Earhart's friend and fellow aviator. The Ruth Nichols collection, including the tail ofher Lockheed Akita, are housed at the museum.
World War II demonstrated women's value to their countries' defense. England and the U.S. employed women pilots to fill jobs ordinarily restricted to men - to ferry aircraft from the factories to the airfield, to test aircraft, to pilot transports, to tow targets, etc. The WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) were a group of brave and patriotic American women. Thirty-eight WASP gave their lives in service to the United States during WWII. These women were the forerunners of today's military women in aviation.
Fast Flying - - -
The jet age did not leave women behind. Flying faster than sound, Jacqueline Cochran (U.S.) and Jacqueline Auriol (France) attained significant advances in aviation. They paved the way for women today to achieve military and airline flight status.
A New Frontier!
Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union was the first woman to orbit the earth in 1963. As early as 1961, the United States had 13 women with the "right stuff." Those first astronaut trainees pioneered the way for women to fully participate in the U.S. space program today. The legacy of their hard work paid off 22 years later, in 1983, with Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. Her flight is documented at the Museum.
Your donations help:
Donations are used by the museum to continue to preserve the history of women in aviation and space and to provide educational programming for girls in order to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
There are many ways you can get involved.
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