Special tickets are not required for this exhibition. Enjoy the exhibition during regular museum hours.
Aerospace Design: The Art of Engineering from NASAs Aeronautical Research explores the architecture and engineering of wind tunnels by displaying approximately 90 objects from NASAs collection, including wind tunnel models and flight artifacts, past and present. The exhibition commemorates the centennial of powered, controlled flight that began with the landmark take off of the Wright brothers on December 17, 1903.
Objects included in the exhibition date back to NASAs predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), founded in 1915. Created out of that agency at the beginning of the space race in 1958, NASA has a wealth of often unexhibited and unpublished artifacts that not only document technological advances in flight over the past century but are also aesthetically striking. Beyond the historic dimension, the exhibition showcases some of the latest research being done for aircrafts with "morphing" wings, self-healing vehicle "skins" and biologically inspired sensorselements that NASA hopes will make future air travel accident free, environmentally friendly, and affordable and accessible. In all, the project presents the history of aeronautically engineered forms in relation to architecture and design, much as previous Art Institute exhibitions have analyzed architecture and design for commercial aviation, space travel, and contemporary railroad travel. Visitors are shown another example of how aviation design is as beautiful as it can be functional.
John Zukowsky, John H. Bryan Curator of Architecture, Department of Architecture,
the Art Institute
This exhibition has been organized by The Art Institute of Chicago's Department of Architecture and the Aerospace Technology Enterprise of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Education programs have been supported by The Albert Pick, Jr. Fund, and The Woman's Board of The Art Institute of Chicago. Additional funding has been provided by Mr. & Mrs. David Hilliard.
The Octagon Museum, Washington D.C., spring 2004
A hardcover companion to the exhibition, Aerospace Design: Aircraft, Spacecraft, and the Art of Modern Flight by Anthony M. Springer (Merrell Publishers, 192 pages), may be purchased in the Museum Shop.
Above: Rehabilitation of the Transonic Wind Tunnel, 1990. Langley Research Center. NASA photograph
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