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Senator Frank Church
Travels by Air



Images from an exhibition in the Smithsonian Institution's
National Air and Space Museum,
Washington, D.C., 2008

In November 2007 the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., opened a major exhibition entitled "America by Air," documenting the history of passenger air travel in the United States.  While the exhibition was in the planning stages, curator Joanne Gernstein London contacted the Special Collections Department in the Boise State University Library to inquire if the Frank Church collection contained any photos or documents illustrating how safe, convenient, and affordable air travel enabled members of Congress to keep in touch with their constituents and travel across the country.  The short answer was "Yes," and the Library was able to supply the Smithsonian with several items to use in the exhibit.  Those items included a photo of Frank Church boarding an airplane in 1958 (depicted above) as well as pages from his appointment book chronicling three busy days of air travel in 1976.  The Smithsonian staff created a montage of the exhibit items, drew a map of the Senator's whirlwind travel, and mounted them in a suitcase (supposedly filled with the Senator's clean shirts and other clothes).  The caption on the outside of the suitcase reads: "Jet travel helps shape politics by making it easier for our representatives to stay in contact with the people they serve, especially during election years.  A politician's schedule may include stops across the country in just one day."  If you are able to visit Washington, D.C., during 2008, the Senator's suitcase can be found on the baggage carousel in the "America By Air" exhibit on the first floor of the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall.  If not, you can see the Frank Church suitcase below and link to the exhibition's website.

Frank Church collection: Trips, Germany, 1958 Photo 1

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image

Link to the Smithsonian's "America by Air" exhibition

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