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Museum Celebrates National Aviation Day With Silver Dart Exhibit and Education Program Launch

On February 23, 1909, aviation history was made in Canada with the first powered flight taking place in the skies above Nova Scotia. In 2009, the Canadian government officially proclaimed February 23rd as National Aviation Day in Canada. On February 23, 2011, in honour of the day, the National Air Force Museum of Canada (NAFMC) announced the grand opening of their Silver Dart exhibit and the launch of their new Education Program.

Silver Dart Exhibit Official Opening

What began as a conversation at an air show last July has resulted in the acquisition of a wonderful new addition to our collection. Thanks to the generosity of Ed Lubitz the museum is now home to the Silver Dart 5, a full scale replica of the original 1909 Silver Dart.

Ontario aviation enthusiasts, Ed Lubitz and Mark Taylor, wanted to do something spectacular to mark the 100th anniversary of John McCurdy’s historic flight at Baddeck, Nova Scotia in 1909.  In October 2008 they began building their own Silver Dart replica, and after 8 months of construction activity, their masterpiece was completed. This well researched project, using the original drawings, was a true labor of love, and the outstanding craftsmanship is evident when viewing this aircraft. The overall philosophy of the replica’s construction was that the aircraft was made to the original specifications with concessions to modern materials.

“What a marvelous set of coincidences it was when I met Ed at the Kitchener Waterloo Air Show this past summer.” said Chris Colton, Executive Director of the NAFMC. “It took very little time to convince him that Trenton was the ideal home for his magnificent Silver Dart replica. And now that it is on display, it has drawn numerous comments on Ed’s craftsmanship. It has proven to be an important addition to our growing fleet of historic aviation artifacts.”

NAFMC Education Program Launch

The National Air Force Museum of Canada is proud to announce the inauguration of their new Education Program. Speaking at the program launch, NAFMC Curator, Dr. Georgiana Stanciu stated “Regardless of their profile: Science and technology, art, ethnic, military, social or you name it, museums today can’t exist outside the educational component. How else are traditions, stories of the past, tangible and intangible heritage to be transmitted to our children?”

The immediate objective is to attract grade 6, 9 and 10 students, as the artifacts within the museum directly correlate with parts of their studies. The programs are designed to provide interactive learning that will meet or exceed the learning outcomes summarized in the Ontario Ministry of Education guidelines, specifically within the Flight module of the grade 6 Science syllabus, and the Canadian History since World War I module as part of the grade 9 and 10 Canadian and World Studies course.

“One of the key elements in the maturing of a museum is the adoption of an education program.” said Colton. “Today we are all extremely proud and excited with the fact that we have now taken the necessary steps to achieve this important goal.”

Overall, the education programs concept is based on building a strong community partnership with schools and school boards. Coordinating efforts that can provide support for students and their learning achievements is the Education Programmer’s goal. Volunteer facilitators with distinctive military background will contribute their expertise and enthusiasm towards a unique learning experience that supports students’ success.

“The teams of facilitators including myself are very proud, committed and excited to put into practice the lesson plans designed specifically for curriculum achievement and for students’ enjoyment.” said Christina Edwards-Scott, the museum’s Education Programmer.