Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum: A Review in Photos
by Carol White Llewellyn
For Father’s Day, my daughters and I were stumped on an idea for my husband for Father’s Day until I remembered a friend’s comment that the Glenn H. Curtiss Aviation Museum is one of her favorite places in the Finger Lakes. Between lunch on the deck of the Switzerland Inn Restaurant overlooking Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, followed by a visit to the Curtiss Museum, this was easily the most memorable Father’s Day our family has ever spent!
About Glenn Curtiss
Glenn Hammond Curtiss became a local "speed prodigy" in his teens when he began designing, building and racing bicycles. By the time he was 24 years old, his Hercules bicycle company was already well-known. He soon came up with the idea to add engines to the bikes, creating some of this country's early motorcycles. In 1907, he added a V-8 engine to a bike and was tracked at 136 m.p.h., bestowing on him the name of "The fastest man on earth." Next, he was hired to put an engine on a “lighter-than-air” dirigible. He soon attracted the notice of the early adventurers in aviation. Curtiss joined the Aerial Experiment Association and was working elbow-to-elbow with visionaries, such as Alexander Graham Bell, who saw the promising future of aviation.
Watch this short narrated slide show to get a snapshot of this amazing man's life and a peep at one of the region's truly fascinating museums:
Although this slide video focuses primarily on Curtiss and his forays into aviation – including life-size replicas, actual Curtiss memorabilia and models of different types of planes - the museum also has some amazing historical displays including doll houses, fire engines, Victorian artifacts and currently, a temporary Civil War exhibit. There are even hands-on activities for the kids. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is guaranteed to help your imagination take flight!
About the Museum
The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is housed in what resembles an enormous airplane hanger. Not only does the museum celebrate the man and display his many achievements ...bicycles, motorcycles, early airplanes and seaplanes, WWI fighting planes, RV trailers... it also shows how his creations influenced society and history. Through photos, personal items and historic memorabilia, we get a look at the times and life of Glenn H. Curtiss, the fastest man on earth.
Who Should Visit the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum?
This museum has some interactive sections, but much of it is well-done displays of the awesome advances in early transportation. Our family found it as engaging as the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, although it is much smaller. Most boys and many girls over the age of about 5 would enjoy this museum (although younger boys who love planes and motorcycles might be enthralled as well) and adults with an interest in history or early transportation will find it fascinating.
The Glenn H. Curtis Museum is located at the south end of Keuka Lake (GPS coordinates: 42.235548N 77.135839W). It's open May through October, Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From November through April it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The fee for admission is Adults $7.50, Seniors (65 and over) $7.50, Students (7-18) $4.50, Children (6 & under) and Members Free. They also offer a family rate of $20/family, an adult group rate of $5/adult and a student group rate of $2.50/student.
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum 8419 State Route 54 Hammondsport, NY 14840 Map/Directions607-569-2160
P.S. The Switzerland Inn Restaurant is open for the season from April through mid-November.
© 2011, Carol White Llewellyn, The Finger Lakes Travel Maven. Carol is the Finger Lakes Travel Maven, covering the best things to do in the Finger Lakes… and beyond, for adults as well as families. For more fun things to do, visit her web site at www.fingerlakestravelmaven.com.