One of the things we wanted for this mega field trip was to not be too rushed with stops and to stop at several things along the way that caught our eye. Well, I had totally not looked ahead to see that we would be going through Dayton, Ohio, and thus could make a stop at the place where the Wright Brothers got their start. We realized it as we drove across and saw a marker for the birthplace of one of the brothers. We were unable to get to that museum – the road was out and we had no idea how to go around AND it was a day the birthplace was closed. BUT, we did note that we could go to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park was in Dayton and we were going right through. So, we stopped.
It was quite rainy and that really interrupted the stop, as the park is in several locations and partially outdoors, but we still enjoyed ourselves. We visited the main location where the indoor museum is, as well as taking a quick peek at the bicycle shop and a stop by where their home had been located.
The museum focused on the lives of Orville and Wilbur but also Paul Laurence Dunbar, who was a writer and about the same age as the brothers. They all sort of strengthened each other and helped their own creativity grow. Working together was a boon for all of them. The museum talked about all three men and we learned a lot. There were a good number of hands-on options to help learn a bit about the way flight works. There was also a very good movie that taught us a lot about the lives of the Wright Brothers.
Printing presses, airplanes, bicycles, attempts, failures, business, and more – all of these things run through the museum and the lives of the Wright Brothers. The home life of the Wright Brothers strongly influenced their ability to move forward and to see the benefit of each failure or restart they had to make. They were persistent and many people admired that. It was a good trait for them to have.
One thing that I learned about them is just how scientific they were about their models. I knew they had tried things out in a bunch of different ways but I was fascinated to read and see how they worked on things in an extremely regimented and scientific manner – carefully observing and changing little things to see how they affected the project they were working on. Then adding up those little changes to make a working airplane.
It was truly a fascinating stop. There was a temporary exhibit there on parachutes, as well. So we spent some time learning about how parachutes work, some of the people who worked on parachutes, some of the most famous parachuters, and a bit more. There were some interesting hands-on activities to help them think about concepts necessary to a successful launch and use of a parachute.
We did not go out to the airstrip where the Wright Brothers did their test runs because the rain was getting heavier. I wish we could have but we had to move on. A stop for another time, right? Keep that wish list running. 🙂