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Exhibit marks anniversary of first flight

When people think of famous places associated with the history of aviation, Massachusetts is not among the first sites to come to mind. But people and organizatrions including MIT, General Electric, Raytheon and Draper Laboratory have produced an impressive array of aviation researchers, inventors and industrialists.

To mark the centennial of the first heavier-than-air powered flight, the MIT Museum will present "Hub of the Air Universe: A Century of Flight in Massachusetts." The exhibition, which opens Friday, Nov. 14 and runs until July, features artifacts, artwork and images, many never before displayed, from the MIT Museum's collection.

The late Ralph M. Eastman, an ardent supporter of aviation in the state and vice president of the State Street Trust Co. of Boston, assembled the MIT Museum's State Street Bank Aeronautical Collections.

Artifacts include a piece of the original fabric that covered the Wright brother's 1903 Flyer, one of the oldest wind tunnel models used by MIT students and faculty, hand-colored lithographs, glass lantern slides, parts of human-powered airplanes built by MIT students in the 1970s and 1980s, and even a small rocket. The exhibition focuses on the efforts and achievements at MIT and throughout the state's aviation industry.

The MIT Museum also will host a daylong event, "Festival of Flight," on Dec. 6 and a curator talk, "First Flight, First Fabric," on Dec. 17. For details, see

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 5, 2003.

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