Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum
Written By Renee Arbia
I have lived in places that really took soaring to the heights. Right now I live in the state of North Carolina where the Wright Brothers were “First in Flight”. Unfortunately, the Wright Brothers were very elusive with the media, and their flight did not get as much attention as it may have deserved.
The second place I grew up in a small town called Hammondsport off of Keuka Lake in New York. Here is where a man named Glenn Hammond Curtiss lived and made many important discoveries that so many people outside of this small town have never even heard about.
Curtiss was an American aviation pioneer and a founder of the US Aircraft industry. He is known as the “Father of Aviation”. Curtiss started as a bicycle racer and builder which quickly led to him working on building motorcycles. In 1902 he built a motorcycle with a V8 powered engine and clocked at 136.3 mph. From that moment on Curtiss was known as the “Fastest Man on Earth”. After motorcycles Curtiss was offered a job to manufacture engines for airships. Curtiss was part of the Aerial Experiment Association that was founded by Alexander Graham Bell. Glenn H. Curtiss is credited with the first officially witnessed flight in North America; won a race at the world’s first international air meet in France and made the first long-distance flight in the United States. He later formed the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, now part of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. His company built aircraft (mainly seaplanes) for the US Army and Navy during the years of World War II.
My son loves planes, trains and automobiles, as most three year olds do. My dad had the day off, and my thirteen year old nephew was visiting, so I decided to take the boys to the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum. Growing up in Hammondsport I knew a lot about Curtiss, but there is always so much more to know. I was fascinated by all that he accomplished in his short life. The museum was a big hit for everyone. First of all I liked that the prices were very reasonable. There were also a lot of different types of exhibits, there were 1920s exhibits, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, cameras, the first RV, boats and seaplanes. Some are restored and some are vintage replicas. There is a plethora of exhibits and information to learn about; they even had a vintage doll house exhibit I had fun in. The boys really liked the restoration building where they salvage old planes that have crashed and try to restore them back together. What is a great thing about this museum is that there were a lot of hands on activities that the children could take part in and learn about, they have an area for very young children, as well as planes you can touch and move, and even simulators you could try to fly.
If you are looking for a fun, factual and inexpensive trip, make sure you visit the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. There is something for everyone to be amazed at being able to experience the miracle of speed and flight.
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
8419 State Route 54
Hammondsport, NY 14840
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