Montgomery considered for Wright Bros. museum

Associated Press


The Wright Brothers Aeroplane Co. is considering making Montgomery the permanent home for a Wright Brothers exhibit that recreates the birth of aviation between 1899 and 1905.

Nick Engler, director of the company, said the idea is to build a 20,000-square-foot museum in a city that has some connection to the history of aviation. The museum would house all six of the aircraft the company has replicated, and would feature a webcasting studio so the museum could connect in real-time with different schools and organizations all over the world.

The Wright Brothers opened the nation’s first civilian flying school in Montgomery in 1910. In 1922, the flight school’s location became Maxwell Field.

The Wright Brothers Aeroplane Co., based in Dayton, Ohio, is the only agency that builds and flies Wright aircraft, Engler said. They travel all over the United States and Canada showing parts of the exhibit at events, museums and schools.

Engler said he considers himself an experimental archaeologist, which is a type of archaeology that involves repeating historic events to better understand them.

The company currently is working with developer Mike Watson, who is also president of the architecture firm 2WR, on creating artifacts for Watson’s new Aviator Bar that will open on Commerce Street.

Watson said he brought Engler to Montgomery last week to start discussions about a museum.

“It would dovetail perfectly with what’s going to be going on at the Aviator Bar,” Watson said. “It’ll be a museum/entertainment venue. It’ll allow us to somewhat relate the two spaces and add a little entertainment value to what sometimes is boring to people: history.”

Watson said the museum is still only a possibility, but it would generate tourism dollars for the city.

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