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Explore 100 years of NASA's Rich and Dynamic History

Journey through NASA’s history with more than 100 images

NORFOLK, VA. (September 20, 2017) — The Chrysler Museum of Art will celebrate NASA Langley Research Center’s centennial with Picturing Innovation: The First 100 Years at NASA Langley. The photography exhibit opens Oct. 7 and will be on view in the Frank Photography Galleries and Focus Gallery through March 11, 2018. Admission is free.

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Shock waves festoon a small-scale model of the X-15 in the 4 x 4-Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel at NASA Langley Research Center in 1962. Courtesy NASA Langley Research Center.

Since its founding 100 years ago, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., has been changing how we fly, explore space and see our planet. With more than 100 images, the exhibition depicts many of Langley’s pioneering innovations, including pilots testing experimental planes, engineers operating the facility’s famous wind tunnels and astronauts preparing to take the first steps on the moon.

“The photographic archive at Langley includes millions of images that document the history of aeronautics research, space exploration and atmospheric analysis,” says Seth Feman, the Chrysler Museum’s acting curator of photography. “We selected photographs that richly illustrate Langley’s innovations with an eye to how the photographic medium has supported those discoveries.”

In addition to dynamic images of Langley’s innovations, visitors will find photographs that depict scientists using cameras to perform their research as well as the stunning images those researchers produced. Highlights include photographs that use special techniques to depict the flow of air around test models and composite images of the moon’s surface made in the 1960s by the Lunar Orbiter, a satellite equipped with a special camera, processor and transmitter. The show also includes artifacts on loan from NASA Langley and a family-friendly Lunar Lounge where visitors can learn about far-flung planets and discover how wind tunnels work.

Established in 1917 as the first civilian aeronautical laboratory in the United States, Langley served as the primary research facility for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), whose founding mission was to address “the problems of flight with a view to their practical solution.” Langley’s first researchers approached flight innovation with a series of experimental projects to improve aircraft engineering, design and performance. New wing and cowling shapes along with drag-cleanup efforts advanced flight efficiency and speed. Just a few years after opening, Langley was widely recognized as the world’s leading aeronautical research site. In collaboration with aviation companies and the military, Langley took on the challenges of supersonic flight after World War II, developing high-speed aircraft, including the X-1, the first plane to break the sound barrier, and the X-15, the first winged aircraft to reach the edge of our atmosphere.

After NACA was transformed into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, researchers began to focus on space exploration and environmental research as well. Langley played a leading role in the development and execution of NASA’s first manned space program, Project Mercury, and astronauts were trained at Langley to rendezvous new spacecraft in orbit as part of Project Gemini. For the Apollo lunar missions, Langley built the Lunar Landing Research Facility to prepare astronauts to land and move on the moon and to return home safely. Langley researchers also helped map Mars as part of the Viking missions. While moving people and rockets beyond Earth’s atmosphere, Langley scientists developed technologies for observing the atmosphere itself. Using advanced radio signals, laser beams and satellite technology, Langley researchers have studied atmospheric conditions, making the research center an international leader in climate science.


Out of this World Family Day
Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017
10 a.m. – 3 p.m. ? Free
Embark on a journey into outer space with family activities, crafts, story time and an appearance by retired NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman and her husband, glass artist Josh Simpson. Enjoy live glass blowing in front of the Museum with our Mobile Hot Shop, intergalactic art activities and so much more!

Gallery Talks
Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 with Seth Feman, Curator of Photography
Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
2 p.m. ? Free
Join us for a guided tour of our far-out exhibition. Discover NASA’s rich history and exciting innovations.


The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. In the years since Chrysler’s death in 1988, the Museum has dramatically enhanced its collection and extended its ties with the Norfolk community. The Museum, expanded in 2014 to add additional gallery spaces and amenities for visitors, now has growing collections in many areas. The Chrysler also mounts an ambitious schedule of exhibitions and educational programs and events each season.

In 2011, the Chrysler opened the Perry Glass Studio adjacent to the Museum. This state-of-art, working facility offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes including glassblowing, fusing, flameworking, coldworking, and neon. The Studio also has earned a reputation for its cutting-edge performance evenings that mix live glassmaking with visual, musical, culinary, and performing arts. The Perry Glass Studio recently was the site of the prestigious 2017 Glass Art Society Conference.

In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers two historic houses in downtown Norfolk: the Moses Myers House and the Willoughby-Baylor House.

The Chrysler Museum of Art, One Memorial Place, Norfolk, and its Perry Glass Studio at 745 Duke St., are open to the public Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The Historic Houses on East Freemason Street are open weekends. General admission is free at all venues. For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, visit

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