As you may have heard, the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is speaking tonight at Wright State University (7:00 p.m. in the Nutter Center’s McLin Gym). It had been widely known for months that Dr. Tyson would be visiting WSU.
But what we didn’t know until this morning was that Dr. Tyson might come to visit us at the Special Collections & Archives! Schedule permitting, Dr. Tyson would be coming to the fourth floor of the Dunbar Library for a special tour of the Archives and of some of our original Wright Brothers materials.
So we carefully pulled out, and lovingly arranged, a great spread of early aviation materials, with a primary focus on the Wright Brothers: newspaper front pages honoring Wilbur and Orville (both in life and death); scrapbooks; the U.S. Signal Corps contract from 1908 ordering “one heavier-than-air flying machine” for a price tag of $25,000; Bishop Milton Wright’s diaries from 1903 (the first flight) and 1912 (the year Wilbur died); copies of the Wrights’ newspapers The Evening Item and West Side News; their old school records and one of Orville’s school sketchbooks; as well as books by Lilienthal and Langley.
Then, we got another call. Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite enough time to bring Dr. Tyson over after all. We were, of course, disappointed—but not because we went to “all that trouble.” It’s not much trouble at all! This is what we do! And besides, some of us could probably locate all those Wright items in our sleep by now!
We were just sorry we missed the perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Neil deGrasse Tyson and to share some of our favorite artifacts with him. We were excited for the chance to share some of what we do with him, as he’s going to share some of what he does with the WSU community tonight.
So, if you’re ever back in Dayton, Dr. Tyson, please feel free to give us a call! We’d love to give you that tour—next time!