Agreement brings historic aviation portraits to ECSU

Published 6:42 am Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Tuskegee Airmen, the Apollo 11 astronauts, Amelia Earhart are just a sampling of the historic portraits hanging along the wall of the second floor of Elizabeth City State University’s STEM Complex, celebrating the pioneers of aviation.

They are part of a collection of 75 portraits that are on loan from the First Flight Society. The portrait loans are a Memorandum of Agreement between the organization and ECSU. The First Flight Society, based in Kitty Hawk, entered into the MOA with the university to store and exhibit the 75 portraits. The First Flight Society and ECSU will also cooperate in educational, promotional, and aviation-related activities.

First Flight Society officials say the agreement provides a “long-needed, permanent location” to house the 75 portraits. The portraits had been displayed at the National Park Service Visitor Center at the Wright Brothers National Park in Kill Devil Hills, but must be stored in a climate-controlled environment. The portraits’ new home at the ECSU STEM Complex in Elizabeth City provides the environment necessary for the preservation of the paintings.

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The portraits will be rotated inside the STEM Complex, displaying a small number at a time. The portraits and an interpretive display of African American pioneers in aviation can be viewed on the second floor of the STEM Complex, Monday through Friday during regular school hours. The portraits remain the property of the First Flight Society.



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