"Women are, have been and will continue to be vital to the success and advancement of aviation. As astronauts, military aviators, commercial pilots and much more, they have pushed the envelope to better our world. The National Park Service is pleased to host the Smithsonian "Women and Flight" exhibit, which honors the courage and determination of extraordinary women who have contributed to the world's aviation legacy," said Lawrence A. Belli, Superintendent, Outer Banks Group.
The exhibition features 75 black-and-white photographs of contemporary women pilots by Carolyn J. Russo, photographer at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. The photographs, accompanied by quotes and biographical sketches, profile 37 women aviators and astronauts.
Russo traveled the United States extensively to interview and photograph each pilot. The range of occupations is impressive. It includes pilots from virtually all fields of aviation -- military, commercial, business and sport. Featuring working environments as backdrops, Russo's portraits reveal the circumstances and conditions of the daily lives of female fliers. Their stories offer vivid demonstrations of personal courage, historical progress and accomplishment.
Women have been pilots since 1908 -- only five years after the first successful airplane flight. But for decades they remained a rare breed, hampered by social, economic and legal barriers. Only in the past 25 years have professional training and career opportunities become widely available to women. Today, as shown in these photographs, women fly everything from gliders to space shuttles.
The five-year, 30-city tour of "Women and Flight" was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). Each year, SITES shares the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside of Washington, D.C. One of the Smithsonian's four National Programs, SITES makes available a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown not only in museums but wherever people live, work, and play: in libraries, science centers, historical societies, community centers, botanical gardens, schools, and shopping malls. In 2002, SITES celebrated 50 years of connecting Americans to their shared cultural heritage. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu.
Ms. Russo authored a companion book to the exhibition published by Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown and Company.
"Women and Flight" has been generously supported by Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies Corp.
Additional support provided by Ilford Corporation and the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
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Contact: Erin Porter
Centennial Planning Office
Tel: 252 441 6291, ext. 224