A TRAVELING EXHIBITION OF
CURTISS-WRIGHT CADETTE STORIES & ARTIFACTS
PLUS! An AERONAUTICAL LABORATORY for YOUNG WOMEN!!
PURPOSE OF PROJECT
American educational and governmental programs are moving towards greater inclusion of women via STEM PROGRAMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). But Aerospace Departments have not caught up with the trend in engineering (only 13% of aero students are female). The Curtiss-Wright Cadettes Project aims to help create parity for women in these departments and open the door for equal participation of women engineers in aerospace companies and government transportation planning agencies.
70 years ago, the U.S. government, with the blessing of the Army and the Navy, paid Curtiss-Wright Airplane Company $2 million to train women for 10 months in aeronautical engineering at seven universities. 918 women received training and 766 (or 83%) reported to work in Curtiss-Wright plants. (The 7 schools that trained the Cadettes were: Purdue, RPI, Penn State, Cornell, U. of Minnesota, Iowa State, and U. of Texas.)
The mission of the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes Project is to use the legacy of the Cadettes as an inspiration to young women considering careers in engineering and show universities the value of training women aero-engineers. The Project will restore the Cadettes to aviation history, using artifacts, documentation, and film/video. Initially, these materials will be installed in a unique, portable “exhibition and lab,” which will evolve into a permanent display and interactive learning module housed at a primary aviation, history, or science museum.
DESCRIPTION & LAYOUT
The history of the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes will frame the environments and activities in all four rooms, providing an atmospheric backdrop in each room. Voices and images of the Cadettes will be present throughout. The Cadettes Project Collection contains 30 video interviews with Cadettes, verbatim stories from more than 50 others, and a large selection of photos of Cadettes at school, in the plants, and at play. The Collection also includes news clippings, Curtiss-Wright Company publications, all six issues of “The Cadetter” (which includes drawings, writings, and songs by Cadettes during their training), and several editions of “Gazettes” published independently by Cadettes from individual universities, tracking their work, family life, and activities after the war.
Artifacts: slide-rules, drafting tools, aviation drawings and blueprints by Cadettes, personal scrapbooks, engineering/math workbooks, aero-engineering textbooks, plant badges, and a uniform worn only by University of Texas Cadettes.
In the PEALE exhibit/lab, several young women at a time will explore each of the rooms in a timed rotation. When they emerge, they will receive a simplified version of the “Certificate of Completion” the Cadettes were given after 10 grueling months of university training. The lab will be staffed by "experiential assistants" (female engineering students and grads from Aero-Engineering Departments) to guide the young women through the labs.
The four-room structure’s walls collapse into shippable crates which house the informational panels, educational materials, mannequins, work clothes, chairs, lights, drafting equipment/tools, mini wind tunnel, and creative/play materials. A heavy laboratory table (for the Busting Lab), two drafting tables, and a large crafting and assembling table will be designed to be easily disassembled and fit into the crates.
Portable Engineering Aviation
Wild Hare Press copyright 2016