The village of Hammondsport, located in the Finger Lakes area of New York, is a beautiful place with a few surprises for those who are looking for something interesting to do in this area. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is located just half a mile south of town and offers an unexpected collection of artifacts from both early aviation and local history.
Who is Glenn Curtiss
Glenn Curtiss, the man for whom this museum was named, flew June Bug, his flying machine, more than 5000 feet in the first public, pre-announced flight in the United States. This historic accomplishment earned him the country’s first pilot’s license ever issued. He began his career building bicycles and later became the fastest man on earth when he drove a motorcycle at 136.4 miles per hour. Curtiss later gained international recognition as both an aircraft-builder and as a pilot. He is recognized as the “Father of Naval Aviation” because of his work building a seaplane and training pilots for the Navy.
What You’ll Discover
Visitors to the museum will discover a variety of full-scale reproduction aircraft, including June Bug and the first Navy seaplane built by Curtiss. Other planes in the collection include a 1917 “Jenny,” a 1919 “Seagull” flying boat and a 1931 P-40. The main entrance to the museum is guarded by a C-46, a WW II transport aircraft. You’ll also see a wide variety of motorcycles as well as one of the first travel trailers. Other priceless artifacts housed in the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum include antique boats, clothing, dolls, fire engines, home furnishings, tools, toys and many other unique items which tell the history of the country and the region.
The Children’s Innovation Gallery
Because Curtiss was an innovator, it’s only fitting that this aspect of his life is reflected in a museum dedicated to him. The Children’s Innovation Gallery is an interactive studio in which children can explore the art of inventing new technology, the speed components of engines and other machines and the stories and principles of flight and aviation. There is also a fun, safe toddler play area for little ones who need to burn off some excess energy.
This museum also features a 75-seat theater and space for special events, perfect for its commitment to community involvement. The Restoration Shop is operated by volunteer craftsmen who will be happy to show you the historic aircraft and other things on which they are working. Permanent displays include Civil War, WWI and WWII galleries.
In addition, the museum also hosts special traveling exhibits, bringing interesting and exciting new things to the region every year. Guided tours are also available.
This gem of the Finger Lakes region is open year round, so come enjoy this reasonably priced, family-friendly glimpse of aviation and early-1900s Americana. You’ll see and experience everything from bicycles to biplanes and enjoy learning about how today’s technology is only possible though yesterday’s innovators, such as Glenn Curtiss.