Sarah.Lanigan's blog

WWII Morale Boosters

From the collection of the Virginia Aviation Museum (a division of the Science Museum of Virginia) are two World War II era morale boosters for troops. These booklets provided entertainment for those serving overseas during the war. The “Army Song Book” was published in 1941 by the Library of Congress and contains well-known songs such as “America the Beautiful” and the “Star Spangled Banner”. It also includes the official song of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Here is an excerpt:

The Aluminaut & a 1960s View of the Future

The above drawing is a futuristic view of the world as envisioned by Reynolds Metals Co. in the mid-1960s for what the future would hold for the Aluminaut (shown as the dark vessel at top left).
 
Here are some projects it was believed the Aluminaut would initiate:
 
  • Producing electricity through subsurface dams set up over strong ocean currents
  • The ability to move large amounts of people safely underwater as opposed to dangerous travel above the surface during hostile weather or attacks

Traveling by Air in the 1940s

A recent acquisition into the collection of the Virginia Aviation Museum is this 1944 Eastern Airlines timetable which contains flight times and prices.

At the time of this publication, one way travel from Richmond cost at most $85.25 for a trip to Brownsville, Texas and the cheapest flight was $7.45 to get to Baltimore, Maryland.

Eastern Airlines began offering passenger flights out of Richmond beginning in 1932.

 

 

 

 

The SR-71: Designed with a Slide Ruler!

So you've probably seen the big black plane outside of the Virginia Aviation Museum when you're on your way to the airport. But what exactly is it?

This plane is the SR-71 Blackbird and was manufactured by Lockheed under the direction of the CIA. After World War II, the United States wanted to maintain a close watch on Soviet missile and nuclear weapon production. To do this a plane was needed that could fly very high and very fast to both escape incoming missiles and to avoid detection by Soviet radar, all while taking photographs of what was going on below.

Get to Know Virginia Aviation History: The Roma Disaster

Recently I discovered a scrapbook at the Virginia Aviation Museum. Glued inside a bound ledger of the “Southern Fire Insurance Company, Inc. of Lynchburg, VA”, were newspaper clippings spanning from the early 1920s to the late 1930s describing various advancements and events in the progress of aviation technology. Eighty-two of the pages are filled with descriptions of Amelia Earhart, the Zeppelin, and Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition (even with a photo of the Stars and Stripes!).

The LeMay Bombing Leaflet

On August 1, 1945, over one hundred US B-29 Superfortresses flew over Japan at around 20,000 feet. At this height they dropped 500-pound containers, each holding leaflets that warned the Japanese civilians of the necessity of surrender. At around 4,000 feet the containers opened and released millions of leaflets that fluttered down to the people below.

The First Flight of 2nd Lt. Thomas Love Chrisman

Do you remember the first time you were on an airplane? My first flight was when I was in 4th grade to visit relatives in Arizona. Many of us experienced our first flight on a commercial airliner, complete with cushioned seats, in flight movies, and a snack. But what do you think it would have felt like to have your first flight in the open air cockpit of a Curtiss Jenny during World War I? (My guess: loud, bumpy, and no snacks). Native Virginian Thomas Love Chrisman did just that when he left school at the University of Virginia to serve in World War I.

WWII Eye Candy

Check out these cool & colorful World War II era postcards that are in the collection of the Virginia Aviation Museum. Postcards such as these were often sold at the various camps around the world to servicemen to send back to their loved one and friends.

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