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Black Wings Exhibit - Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

500 NE Cumulus Avenue, McMinnville, Oregon 97128 | 503-434-4185
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1 Review
Type: Museums & Monuments
Ages: Ages 9 — adult
Cost: Free
Hours of operation: Check website

This exhibit is on loan from the Smithsonian, and is currently on display in the IMAX building (in the lobby). The exhibit runs 12 May-5 August 2012.

1 Review for Black Wings Exhibit - Evergreen Aviation and Sp...

May 21 2012
0 families found this helpful
"Interesting for the older set"

Going in, we figured this exhibit would be above our 4-year old's head. Although he lives in a family where we have friends of all races and religions, he hasn't learned yet about our past and that not all people were treated equally. This exhibit is focuses on the Black Wings, a group of African-American aviators at the turn of century (1900s) that broke through barriers for the ability to take to the skies.

The exhibit, on loan from the Smithsonian, shows how the earliest African-American aviators had to travel to France to get their pilot licenses (something they couldn't do in the US) so they could come back to the US and fly here. They flew in shows and did incredible stunts. More importantly, they opened up their own flight schools, and taught other African-Americans to fly.

The thing I found most interesting, is that the Black Wings would come to town, and people of all races would come out to watch. It was bridging gaps – much like our Space program has brought countries together to work for the greater good.

These flight schools eventually led to the Tuskeegee Airmen and their brave efforts in WWII.

The exhibit is quite small, and isn't going to be as interesting for the really small set (grandma took the Lad out to the playground while I finished reading), but for older kids who have learned about segregation and the civil rights movement, this could be quite interesting. The other thing that makes it hard for the younger kids, is that it is a lot of reading and pictures. My son did find the 3 different flight helmets really interesting (one from the 20s, one from the 40s, and a more modern one were all in a case together, showing the advancement) but wasn't able to sit through all of the reading.

I would probably not drive down there just for the exhibit, unless you are a die-hard aviation history fan. However, tying it in with a visit to the very kid friendly museum is a perfect fit!  The younger set will be entertained for most of the day with lots of other things as well, and the older kids and adults can take the time to read through the exhibits in detail.

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