SDASM Preserves the Voices of History

Six San Diego museums have partnered for an oral history project to record the area's aviation history.


San Diego, CA - June 30, 2009 - San Diego has long been considered “The Air Capital of the West,” as many important aviation events occurred in our area. The San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) has joined with five other San Diego museum partners for a collaborative oral history project to record this rich history before these stories are lost forever. The other five museums include the Distinguished Flying Cross Society, the USS Midway Museum, the Flying Leatherneck Museum, the Naval Helicopter Historical Society and the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center.

The project relies on qualified volunteers to interview and preserve stories of men and women responsible for contributions to all areas of aviation, with a focus on the history of those from the geographical area of San Diego, California. Nearly five hundred original taped interviews and transcripts have been obtained and are maintained in local museum archives.

To raise awareness of San Diego’s aviation history and the contributions of individuals who reside here, and to share these valuable resources, the six museums are developing a traveling display that will be exhibited in local libraries, schools, airports, and universities. The traveling display will emphasize the role San Diego has played, and is continuing to play, in aviation through the use of photographs, documents, and interviews. Visitors may listen to such well-known aviation and aerospace pioneers as Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, T. Claude Ryan, astronaut Walter Schirra, as well as numerous pilots and others who describe their wartime experiences.

The cooperative group is also consolidating an index of their collections in SDASM’s online catalog, AeroCat, which is located at www.sandiegoairandspace.org/library. The launch date is scheduled for July 4, 2009.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is California’s official air and space museum and education center. The Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, and it was the first aero-themed Museum to be accredited by the American Association of Museums. Currently on display: THE DA VINCI EXPERIENCE, a special exhibition featuring remarkable reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous artwork and interactive replicas of his mechanical devices created more than 500 years ago. Visit www.sandiegoairandspace.org for more information. The Museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 92101. The Museum and gift store are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with admissions until 5:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

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