Neil Armstrong's spacesuit and the Barefoot Bandit's pilot handbook also are among the items that museums can't—or won't—show you.
Orville, Katharine, and Wilbur Wright return from England in 1909. Photograph: NASM.
Harriet Baskas likes going to small museums that don’t get many visitors—collections of lightbulbs, hoards of Barbie dolls, piles of nuts. In these kinds of places, Baskas writes in her new book Hidden Treasures, “the volunteer on duty is apt to follow you around.” She often asks her minders to point out their favorite items. Sometimes, the best stuff isn’t on display; perhaps the artifact is too valuable, or extremely fragile. Or maybe it’s not on view because it is too politically or culturally sensitive.
Baskas uncovered many of these hidden treasures for a 26-part NPR radio project, which she’s now turned into a book. Of course we had to find out if she included anything aviation-related. And she did!
These pantaloons were likely worn beneath the dress Katharine Wright wore to the White House in 1909. Photograph: International Women’s Air & Space Museum, Cleveland, OH.
First up: Katharine Wright’s knickers. As Baskas writes, “Katharine was sometimes referred to as the ‘third Wright Brother,’ yet her life story and ...