February 23, 2023
Contact: Steve Hawkins
Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Historical Society
New Aviation Exhibit Opens March 1 at the Oklahoma History Center
OKLAHOMA CITY — A new aviation exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center (OHC) will open to the public on Wednesday, March 1. It’s devoted to the many Oklahomans who were, and are, pioneers of flight. Members of the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) are invited to preview the exhibit on Tuesday, February 28, starting at 5:30 p.m.
The exhibit is called “Taking Flight: Oklahomans Explore the Skies.” It will include large-scale graphics and custom cases for artifacts, including airplane nose art, uniforms worn by pilots and more. Both military applications and the development of commercial flight will be highlighted. The new exhibit has been in the planning stages for several years with a team of museum staff and consultants. It features the first steps toward air travel and the remarkable ways that Oklahomans contributed to all aspects of aviation.
“Taking Flight: Oklahomans Explore the Skies” is designed to provide a visual bookend to the “Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space” exhibit on the first floor of the OHC in the Gaylord Special Exhibit Gallery. The centerpiece of “Launch to Landing” is the Skylab 4 Apollo Command Module (CM-118) which is on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Visitors will also notice a new mural of an early 1900s-period hot air balloon. At 14 feet wide and 28 feet tall, the mural’s concept represents the dawn of the exploration of the skies at the turn of the 20th century. It was created by Oklahoma City native Manuel Cruz III. A ground-floor walk-in component allows visitors to take selfies that give the illusion of riding in the balloon.
The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Please call 405-522-0765 or visit www.okhistory.org/historycenter/visitor for admission costs and group rates. OHS memberships start at $35 and include free admission to all OHS sites statewide.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.