In the Museum: A Wright Relic Surfaces
- By Larry E. Tise
- Air & Space magazine, March 2010
Special Collections, Dunbar Library, Wright State University
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I enlisted the help of photo-analysts at the school where I teach, East Carolina University, and we matched the table’s wood grain, leg turnings, and nail holes with those visible in the photograph in my book. We later took the photograph and the table to my documentary editing class, and the students identified tiny holes that could have been left by tacks holding down the oil cloth covering.
When we looked at this nondescript piece of furniture, we could then envision the late-night scribbling, pounding of fists, and Eureka! moments. The table became infused with the aura of mystery that surrounds places where humans made history.
After more studies, we shared our findings with the National Air and Space Museum. Finding our conclusions compelling, the curators examined the table and, convinced of its authenticity, agreed to exhibit it in the gallery “The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age,” beginning last January. Now visitors will see two items crafted by the Wrights: the world’s first airplane, and a kitchen table. Says senior aeronautics curator Tom Crouch, a Wright brothers authority, “This beat-up, slapped-together piece of furniture will help to bring the story of the invention of the airplane to life for Museum visitors.”