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Museum's 'Living History' Speakers Series Launches Feb. 25

February 18, 2010Five unique aspects of the world of flight will be center stage this spring as the EAA AirVenture Museum hosts a living-history series of aviation speakers beginning Feb. 25. The series, which is free and open to the public, is supported through a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. The Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

“EAA’s world-class museum in Oshkosh has been an entry door for aviation participation for more than 25 years,” said Alan Westby, EAA AirVenture Museum director. “As the next phase of the museum’s evolution, the museum will expand its living history offerings, which will strengthen community ties and provide new historical and humanities themes for all to explore. This series is just the start of exciting new programs at one of Wisconsin’s best-known museums.”

Among the speakers and topics are:

Feb. 25: “Divided Skies” - a discussion about the struggles of pioneer African-American pilots, with J. Vincent Lowery, African-American historian at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay;

March 23: “Women in Flight” - focusing on early women pilots and the history of airline flight attendants in the context of their times, with Dr. Peggy Chabrian, President of Women in Aviation, International;

April 22: “The Business of Flight” - an exploration of the commercial air industry of the past, present and future, with Joseph Corn of Stanford University;

May 19: “Artisans and Aircraft” - the often unsung and untold stories about craftsmen who build their own aircraft, hosted by University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh historian Jeffrey Pickron;

June 17: “Winged Defense: The History of American Air Power” - centering on the U.S. military aviation history, including early advocate Billy Mitchell, a Wisconsin native who countered military thinking in the 1920s and 1930s. Hosted by noted aviation author and historian Henry Holden.

The Wisconsin Humanities Council was established in 1972 as an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is supported by federal, state, and private funds. Through its own programs and through grants to other organizations, the WHC supports public programs that engage the people of Wisconsin in the exploration of human cultures, ideas, and values.

Wisconsin educators and historians have also been invited to this series to review the offering and recommend future programs that expand the museum’s activities and create a more substantial resource for the community.

Presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. and are held in the SkyScape Theater. There will be post-lecture discussions with refreshments.     

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