AUBURN – Alabama will commemorate its 100 years of aviation history on March 26 at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. Aviation and history scholars will be on hand to guide discussions on subjects ranging from the Wright Brothers’ flight school in Alabama to the state’s aerospace industry.
The symposium will coincide with a reception and display of Air Force art at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, March 25, and a two-day air show and open house at Maxwell Air Force Base on Saturday and Sunday, March 27 and 28.
From late March to late May 1910, Wilbur and Orville Wright operated the nation’s first civilian flying school on open plantation land just west of the Montgomery city limits in what is today Maxwell Air Force Base. These were the first heavier-than-air flights in the state, and they set the stage for a century of aerospace development in Alabama.
The symposium is sponsored by the Department of History in Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts, the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Alabama Department of Archives and History, the Wright Brothers-Maxwell Field Museum Foundation and the Montgomery Area Business Committee for the Arts.
The luncheon keynote speaker will be Tom Crouch, senior curator of the Division of Aeronautics at the National Air and Space Museum and author of “Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age.”
Billy Singleton, chairman of the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and vice president of the Wright Brothers-Maxwell Field Museum project, will speak on aerospace history in Alabama. He is a member of the board of directors of the Southern Museum of Flight and author of “Montgomery Aviation.”
Noted historians and authors Wesley P. Newton and Julie Williams will lead a panel discussion on the Wright Brothers in Alabama.
Historians and archivists from Maxwell’s Air University and the Air Force Historical Research Agency will participate, along with archivists from Auburn University and the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
The registration fee is $35, with March 23 the deadline for lunch and morning refreshments to be included as part of registration. For a full list of presenters, the schedule and a registration form, go to www.auburn.edu/wrightbrothers or call (334) 844-4946.
The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities is the outreach office for the College of Liberal Arts and is dedicated to strengthening the bonds of the college and the wider community. For more information about the Center and its programs, please call (334) 844-4946 or visit www.auburn.edu/cah.