Aviation exhibit opens in Windom
WINDOM -- Even people who have their feet firmly planted on the ground are fascinated by man's pursuit of flight. That's why Linda Fransen, director of the Cottonwood County Historical Society, was interested in bringing an aviation exhibit, "Her...
WINDOM -- Even people who have their feet firmly planted on the ground are fascinated by man's pursuit of flight.
That's why Linda Fransen, director of the Cottonwood County Historical Society, was interested in bringing an aviation exhibit, "Heroes of the Sky: Adventures in Early Flight 1903 to 1939," to the Windom museum.
"I had my eye on it for years, but we didn't have the space," she lamented. "It required 2,000 square feet. Then, about two years ago, they revamped it so that 500 square feet was what you needed. It was just a matter of committing to the rental fee. For a lot of county museums, that fee is a little steep, but we thought this one had a really neat theme, and we also had a tie-in with Otto Timm."
"Heroes of the Sky," which celebrates the 100th anniversary of flight through the stories of fliers, businessmen and inventors from the first 40 years of aviation, opens with a reception Wednesday and will continue to be showcased in the Remick Gallery of the Cottonwood County Historical Society until Nov. 14.
The exhibit introduces visitors to well-known aviators such as Orville and Wilbur Wright, Jimmy Doolittle, Bessie Coleman and Admiral Richard Byrd -- as well as southwest Minnesota's own aviation pioneer, Otto Timm.
Timm (1893-1978) was born in Lakefield and spent a few years in Windom before moving east to pursue aviation. By the age of 19, he had established himself as a prominent aviator.
"He's been a person we've known about at the historical society for a long time," Fransen said. "He left an autobiography here, although it's very brief, almost like a term paper, but it's his writings about his life.
"There's also quite a wonderful photo collection of the planes he designed and flew in his lifetime. It was a matter of pulling the information together along with the pictures. We had a local gal, Coralee Kruger, who had an interest in that and did the research," Fransen added.
In addition to building and flying his own aircraft and founding a pioneering aircraft company, one of Timm's claims to fame is meeting and befriending Charles Lindbergh -- and giving Lindbergh his first airplane ride. Also of local note is Timm's 1915 cross-country tour, which ended when he crashed in a field in Magnolia. The plane came down in the field of Burt Kinner, who was so fascinated by the aircraft that he went on to become an aircraft designer as well.
The Timm information nicely complements the national exhibit, Fransen said.
"And then, of course, we have the Minnesota connection of Charles Lindbergh, so we have information on all levels -- local, state and national," she added.
A number of special events have been planned to occur throughout the duration of the exhibit, including: A dinner and talk on "Charles Lindbergh: Aviation Beginnings," featuring speaker Charles Pautler from the Lindbergh State Historic Site at 5 p.m. on Sept. 13 (ticket required); a free continuous video showing of "Amelia Earhart" on Sept. 19; free movie, "Wings," at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 26; free movie, "Hells Angels," 1:30 p.m. Oct. 3; free talk, "Otto Timm: Flying Further," by David Pichaske at 2 p.m. Oct. 4; family day with chance to tour hangars, view airplanes and model airplanes from 9 to 11 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Windom Airport; and free movie, "Flight of the Phoenix," at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
The opening reception for "Heroes of the Sky" will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday; light refreshments served. The Cottonwood County Historical Society, 812 Fourth Ave., Windom, is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, phone (507) 831-1134.