In 1966, the Kill Devil Hills Memorial Association was rekindled as the newly-incorporated First Flight Society. A keystone of the Society’s work today is the close support it offers the National Park Service at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The Society established the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine, a portrait gallery that surrounded the Wright Flyer reproduction displayed in the Park’s visitor. Currently the Shrine is an exhibit with a digital display of honorees, along with the painting of the most current inductee. The Shrine honors those individuals and groups that have achieved significant “firsts” in aviation’s development. A new member of the First Flight Shrine has been inducted during December 17 ceremonies every year since 1966 and is honored with the unveiling of their portrait.
The Shrine is named for Paul E. Garber, a curator and historian at the Smithsonian Institution. He played a key role in the creation of the National Air Museum in 1946, and was indispensable in the effort to construct the present National Air and Space Museum building in Washington, DC, which opened in 1976.
Click on the links below for details on each enshrinee.