Senior Curator Dan Hagedorn
Dan Hagedorn was appointed Senior Curator and Director of Collections for The Museum of Flight effective February 7, 2008.
As Curator and Director of Collections, Hagedorn has responsibility for all collections materials held by The Museum of Flight, including more than 160 air and space craft, and thousands of related smaller ephemera, including one of the largest collections of flight clothing, stewardess and flight attendant uniform collections extant. His staff of eight highly trained professional collections specialists, archivists and librarians (95 % trained at the graduate level) also manage the Harl V. Brackin Memorial Library, the largest dedicated aerospace library west of the Mississippi River, the Kenneth Dahlberg Center for Military Aviation History Research, the Small Objects Study Collection, and the Museum’s Archives and Photo Archives, which currently holds in excess of 2.8 million images and other major archival collections. The Museum of Flight is also home to the American Fighter Aces Collection, the American Volunteer Group Collection (Flying Tigers), The Champlin Fighter Collection, The Bill Lear Collection, the Professor David Hatfield Collection, The Peter M. Bowers Collection, the Alaska Air Lines Collection, the Airlines Passenger Experience Association Collection and many other smaller collections.
Prior to coming to The Museum of Flight, Hagedorn served as both Research Team Leader and Adjunct Curator for Latin American Aviation at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, during the preceding 20 years. He came to that position following a 27 year career in the United States Armed Forces. During his military career, he served several tours in Latin America and elsewhere and, at one time or another, has visited all but one of the traditional Latin American nations.
He is the author of 18 books dealing with various aspects of aviation history, with an emphasis on the aviation history of Latin America. He has also authored more than 250 journal articles for such widely read periodicals as AIR International, AIR Enthusiast, Skyways, Revista Aérea, Wings, Avions, Força Aérea, WW1 Aero and the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society, to name just a few. He was principal script writer on the revised Enola Gay exhibition which enjoyed the greatest attendance and approval rating of any exhibition ever mounted at the National Air and Space Museum to that time, and which followed the cancelled – and highly controversial – “Last Act” exhibition surrounding the famous aircraft.
In March 1996, Hagedorn was named an Unsung Hero of the Smithsonian Institution, in connection with the 150th Anniversary of the Institution, an honor emanating from nomination by over 5,000 staff members of the Institution, and he was one of only two NASM staff members so honored at the time.
He was Curator for a subject-specific exhibition entitled ¡ARRIBA! The History of Flight in Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean which opened at the National Air and Space Museum in September 1998. This was the first such exhibition devoted exclusively to Latin American aviation at the Smithsonian.
He was the National Air and Space Museum coordinator and narrator of a portion of a 20 minute educational film produced under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration in 1999 entitled Building on the Legacy: Nuestra Herencia. The film had its genesis in a Hispanic Heritage Month presentation given by Hagedorn at FAA headquarters the year before. It has since been widely distributed to elementary and high schools in the southwestern United States, especially.
He was a subject matter consultant to the U.S. Postal Service in 1998 and 1999 in connection with a series of U.S. postage stamps released honoring historic U.S. aircraft of all types.
In 1993, Hagedorn was named by Revista Aérea magazine as overall Coordinator for its annual “Distinguished Helicopter Unit Citation Award” Program, presented until 2003 annually to a Latin American military or naval helicopter unit for outstanding humanitarian or flight accomplishment.
He was appointed as an Associate Editor of Air & Space Smithsonian magazine, the world’s most widely read aviation journal, on April 7, 2000 and the Editor in Chief of that publication, in recognition of his services, has elected to sustain him in that role after leaving the National Air and Space Museum, indefinitely. On August 28, 2000, he was nominated to the Board of Directors of WW1 Aero and Skyways – the Journal of the Early Aeroplane and The Journal of the Airplane 1920-1940 respectively.
A private but highly prized honor came to Hagedorn in April 1998 when the East Muskingum Schools, The John Glenn High School, New Concord, Ohio, elected him to their Distinguished Alumnus Hall of Fame.
In October 2006, in conjunction with his services dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the first flight of aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont – the second person to achieve sustained, heavier-than-air, powered flight - he was decorated with the Orden Merito Santos-Dumont by the Ambassador to the United States of Brazil for “…services to aviation history.”
After publication of his monograph entitled Texans and Harvards in Latin America in February 2010, he was awarded the AAHS Trophy by the International Society of Aviation Historians and Enthusiasts (Air-Britain) in October of the same year for both the monograph and for his services to the members of the Association for more than 46 years. Earlier, in 1974, he had been awarded the Willis Nye Award by the American Aviation Historical Society for his brief history of Army aviation in defense of the Panama Canal Zone. He is the only person to have received both awards.He is a graduate of Villa Maria College (Magna Cum Laude), the State University of New York (Regents designee and Cum Laude) and the United States Army Command and General Staff College, as well as the Modern Archives Institute, National Archives. He started taking flying lessons at 14, and soloed on his 16th birthday, before gaining a driver’s license.