Nevada State Museum Presents Barnstorming Early Aviation in Nevada

Nevada historian and author, Phillip I. Earl, presents Barnstorming! Early Aviation in Nevada, Thursday, October 28, at 7 pm at the Nevada State Museum. Earl’s presentation accompanies the theme of this year’s Nevada Day celebration, 100 Years of Aviation in Nevada.

Earl will cover the full story of aviation in Nevada from the first brave flyers to early air mail, plus the role of aviation in the World Wars. Audiences can learn more about early “barnstormers” and exhibitionists such as Silas Christopherson, who flew in Goldfield on July 4, 1913 and in Tonopah the next day.

Regular admission fees apply. Doors open at 6:00 pm for exhibit viewing in the main building. For details contact Deborah Stevenson at 775-687-4810, ext. 237.

Because of Nevada’s altitude, early flights were made with considerable difficulty and there were no flights over the northern stretch of the Sierra Nevada until March 1919. From 1910 to 1916, planes were crated up and shipped over the mountains from California by rail. Reassembled by mechanics, they were flown by their pilots in exhibition performance, then taken apart again and sent off to the next destination. Ivy Baldwin, a nationally known parachutist and balloonist, made the first air flight in Nevada at the Raycraft Ranch north of Carson City on June 23, 1910. The flight was important because at that time, no one had ever flown so high (elevation 4,675 feet).

“Earl is a fascinating man,” said Curator of Education, Deborah Stevenson, “who knows every aspect of Nevada history from the Lincoln and Victory Highways to the Boulder Dam—from early motorcycles to boxing in Nevada. His interest in Nevada history is diverse and seemingly limitless.”

Phillip I. Earl served as Curator of History at the Nevada Historical Society in Reno from 1970 – 1999. He earned his B.A. in History/Political Science from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1964 and his M.A. in History, also from UNR in 1975. From 1975-1999, Earl authored the popular history series, This Was Nevada. He has published dozens of scholarly articles on the history of Nevada and the West and served as consultant for the History and Discovery Channels.

The Nevada State Museum actively engages people in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage. Exhibits highlight the state’s history, geology, plants and animals, Native American cultural heritage, Historic Carson City Mint, a replica walk-through mine, and ghost town. Due to mandatory state budget restrictions, the museum is closed Sunday – Tuesday, and open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday – Saturday. See the new changing exhibit, Smoke & Shadow: An Exploration of Nevada Landscapes, featuring art by Patricia Wallis on display outside the Natural History Gallery on the second floor. Please enter through the Dema Guinn Concourse. Admission: $8 for adults and free for children 17 and under and museum members. For information, call (775) 687-4810.

The Nevada State Museum is one of seven managed by the state Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. The Department serves Nevada’s citizens and visitors through cultural and information management, presentation and promotion of cultural resources, and education. The Department also includes the State Office of Historic Preservation, Nevada State Library and Archives and the Nevada Arts Council. For more information, please call Teresa Moiola at (775) 687-8323 or visit the department’s website at

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