Wilcutt to attend exhibit opening

Dedra McDowell

The Kentucky Museum is preparing to unveil an exhibit of man’s first attempts at flight.

Beginning with a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, “The Wright Approach: Wilbur and Orville and Their Flying Machine” will be on open display at no cost to the public.

The exhibit will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight.

The display consists of about 40 reproduced photographs from the Library of Congress and Wright State University, some of which were taken by the Wright brothers themselves.

Saturday’s opening will feature NASA astronaut and Western graduate Terry Wilcutt. Wilcutt, a veteran of four trips into space, will speak about his experiences as an astronaut and his plans to donate one of his flight

suits the the Kentucky Museum’s permanent collection.

He will also be available to autograph a limited number of photos for the public.

David Lee, dean of Potter College, is the curator of the exhibit and will make a presentation called “The Wright Stuff: From Dayton to Kitty Hawk with Wilbur and Orville.”

Lee said that while growing up in a small town not far from Dayton, Ohio, where the Wrights began their work, he became interested in the brothers and their innovations in powered flight.

He said that for about 20 years he has been an aviation enthusiast. His interest in powered flight, combined with the 100th anniversary of the dawn of the aviation age, prompted him to bring the exhibit to Western.

“One goal is to make people aware of how complicated powered flight was and how imaginative and innovative the Wrights were,” Lee said. “The two didn’t finish high school, but [they did it] with their own money and through their own initiative and their own ideas. It is really an American dream.”

Earlene Chelf, a spokesperson for the Kentucky Museum, said the exhibit “will pay tribute to heroes in aviation in an interesting range from space age to the early pioneers.

“We’d love to have a huge turnout of faculty and staff. A lot of the presenters will have interesting information and I think everyone will really enjoy it.”

Model airplanes will also be on display courtesy of Sky Mac Radio-Controlled Airplane Club. There will also be hands-on activities for kids.

Lee said that a lot of the Wrights’ inventions involved bicycles and kites and he hopes that the exhibit will inspire the children who attend.

“What I hope is that children will like the exhibit,” Lee said. “A lot of what the Wrights did tied to childhood.”

Reach Dedra McDowell at [email protected]