• Lecture with National Air and Space Museum curator Illuminates Flight that is "Lighter Than Air"

Lecture with National Air and Space Museum curator Illuminates Flight that is "Lighter Than Air"

Friday, January 22, 2010
Jan. 28 program and book signing with award-winning author looks at the history of airships and balloons
SEATTLE, Jan. 22, 2009--In a special, evening program on Jan. 28 at The Museum of Flight, Dr. Tom D. Crouch, the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum Senior Curator of the Division of Aeronautics, speaks from his 2009 book, "Lighter Than Air - An Illustrated History of Airships and Balloons." The 7 p.m. presentation chronicles lighter-than-air flight from its infancy to the latest in sport balloons and plans for future airships.
 
Crouch's presentation describes the heroes who made history in the sky: the eighteenth-century pioneers who first took to the skies in balloons, the aeronauts who criss-crossed two continents a century later, the airmen who manned the great rigid airships, and the intrepid balloonists who flew their craft across oceans and continents in the years following World War II. The program is illustrated with prints and photos from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the Museé de l'Air et de l'Espace at Le Bourget, the Zepplin-Museum at Zepplinheim, and the Imperial War Museum in London. A question and answer session and book signing follows the program. The presentation is in the William M. Allen Theater, admission is $10 general public, and $5 for Museum members. Museum members may reserve seats by calling the Museum Membership Office at 206-768-7171.
 
Tom D. Crouch is a well known historian and biographer who has written and edited over a dozen books, including "The Bishop's Boys: A Life of Wilbur and Orville Wright," "Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age," and "A Dream of Wings: Americans and the Airplane 1875-1905." Since 1974, he has served both the National air and SpaceMuseum and the National Museum of American History in a variety of curatorial and administrative posts. He holds a B.A. from Ohio University, and M.A. from Miami University, and a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. All of his degrees are in history. Crouch also holds the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, conferred by the Wright State University.
 
Crouch has won several major awards for historical writing, including prizes offered by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Aviation/Space Writers Association, a Christopher Award, and the AIAA Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Prize for 2005. In 2000, President Clinton appointed Crouch to the chairmanship of the First Flight Centennial Federal Advisory Board.
 
Reviews for the book, "Lighter Than Air - An Illustrated History of Airships and Balloons"
"Crouch is one of the most knowledgeable authorities on the history of flight today. In his latest book, Crouch slices off a portion of that history and presents it in accessible fashion in a lushly illustrated volume." -  History Wire - Where the Past Comes Alive
 
"This copiously illustrated overview of lighter than air aviation chronicles an adventurous period in human accomplishment with style and insight... A fascinating account of the thrilling quest for human flight." - Literary Features Syndicate
 
Image: USS Los Angeles over Manhatten, 1930. U.S. Naval Historical Center photo.
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The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum's collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the William E. Boeing Red Barn® -- the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing displays 28 World War I and World War II aircraft from the United States and other countries including Germany, Russia, and Japan. Over 30 aircraft representing the first century of aviation are displayed in the all-glass T.A. Wilson Great Gallery. The evolution of space flight and a look into the future are presented in the exhibit, Space: Exploring the New Frontier. The Airpark includes outdoor displays including the first jet Air Force One, a supersonic Concorde airliner and the prototype Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Interactive displays in The Flight Zone provide educational and entertaining activities for young children. The Museum's aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 students are served annually by the Museum's on-site and outreach educational programs--the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only air and space museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.
 
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for active military, $8 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org
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