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Taking Flight: Oklahomans Explore the Skies

The Oklahoma History Center is pleased to present Taking Flight: Oklahomans Explore the Skies. This exhibit explores the first steps toward air travel and the ways Oklahomans contributed to all aspects of aviation.

In the Vose Atrium Gallery, the exhibit begins with a large-scale mural of a 1900s-period balloon created by artist Manuel Cruz III, which represents the dawn of exploration of the skies. This exhibit explores both military aviation and the development of commercial flight. Visitors will see a reproduction of the pressurized suit B. F. Goodrich Company developed for Wiley Post, learn the history of airplane nose art, and view items used by US pilots.

A man and women in uniform stand on platform next to an aircraft. The aircraft features an image of a man and woman in a horse-drawn carriage. Women’s Army Air Corps Sergeant Velma E. Trottingwolf (Cherokee) is pictured with a fellow officer at the christening of a B-29 bomber at the Oklahoma City Air Technical Service Command (present-day Tinker Air Force Base) in 1945. After serving in World War II, Trottingwolf was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant on December 11, 1945. As indicated by the aircraft’s nose art, the bomber was dedicated to the musical Oklahoma!,which at that time had just recorded its 1,000th performance on Broadway (2012.201.B0919.0452, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).