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Gen. John Dailey, John and Adrienne Mars Director
National Air and Space Museum
Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, a retired U.S. Marine Corps four star general and pilot, became the director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in January 2000.
Dailey has led efforts to expand the size and scope of the museum and increase public outreach. In 2003, in conjunction with the Centennial of Flight, the museum opened a second building, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. More than 300 aircraft and space artifacts are housed in its two hangars: the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. In 2011, construction was completed on the center’s second and final component, a section devoted to preservation and restoration of the museum’s collection; it includes the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar. Eight major exhibitions have opened in the museum’s original building with Dailey at the helm. In support of the Smithsonian’s strategic-planning efforts, the museum has expanded its public-program, web and distance-learning activities.
Dailey came to the museum from the NASA, where he had been the associate deputy administrator (1992–1999) since retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps. At NASA, he led the agency’s internal operations.
His career in the Marine Corps spanned 36 years and included extensive command and staff experience. He has flown more than 7,000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft and helicopters. During two tours in Vietnam, he flew 450 missions. He was promoted to the rank of general and named Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps in 1990. He has numerous personal decorations for his service in the Marine Corps and NASA.
While at NASA, Dailey served on the President’s Management Council, co-chaired the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board and was a national delegate to the Research and Technology Organization supporting NATO.
He served as national commander of the Marine Corps Aviation Association and is a member of the Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association (“Golden Eagles”).
The National Air and Space Museum’s original building, which opened in 1976, is home to many of the firsts in aviation and space history, including the Wright brothers’ Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo 11 command module Columbia. Icons at the Udvar-Hazy Center include a Concorde, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” and the space shuttle Discovery. With a combined attendance of approximately 8 million visitors a year to both its buildings, the museum is one of the most popular in the world.
Dailey was born in Quantico, Va., and earned his bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1956. He and his wife, the former Mimi Rodian of Copenhagen, Denmark, live in Fairfax, Va. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Robert van der Linden, Curator
Collection: Air Transportation and Special Purpose Aircraft
Robert van der Linden is a curator in the Aeronautics Department of the National Air and Space Museum. He is also curator of air transportation and special purpose aircraft. He is the responsible curator for the “Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall” and the “Golden Age of Flight” gallery. He is also the lead curator for the award-winning “America by Air” gallery.
In 1991, the University of Washington published van der Linden’s first book titled The Boeing 247: The First Modern Airliner. In 1992, he contributed three airline industry articles for the Encyclopedia of American Biography: Aviation, and in 1995, he produced a chapter on the creation of the U.S. airline industry that was published in From Airships to Airbus: The History of Civil and Commercial Aviation, Volume 2—Pioneers and Operations. In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, he co-authored Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis with Dominick A. Pisano for Harry N. Abrams, Inc. In 2002, the University Press of Kentucky published his book Airlines and Air Mail: The Post Office and the Birth of the Commercial Aviation Industry. He co-authored 100 Years of Flight: A Chronicle of Aerospace History, 1903–2003, in 2003. In 2006, he co-authored Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1 and edited The Best of NASM. In 2011, he completed a revised version of an earlier work entitled The Nation’s Hangar: Aircraft Treasures of the Smithsonian.
Van der Linden was born in Washington, D.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Denver and master’s and doctorate in modern American, business and military history from George Washington University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society and the Society for the History of Technology. He has been with the Smithsonian since 1977. Van der Linden and his wife Sue reside in Washington with their daughter Rachael.
Margaret A. Weitekamp, Curator
Collection: Social and Cultural Dimensions of Spaceflight Collection
Margaret A. Weitekamp curates the museum’s social and cultural dimensions of spaceflight collection, more than 4,000 artifacts that include space memorabilia and space science fiction objects. These everyday mementos of the space age, which include toys and games, clothing and stamps, medals and awards, buttons and pins, and comics and trading cards, complete the story about spaceflight told by the museum’s collection of space hardware and technologies.
Weitekamp earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and master’s and doctorate in history from Cornell University. During her graduate work, she was a Mellon fellow in the humanities and spent a year in residence at the NASA Headquarters History Office in Washington, D.C., as the American Historical Association/NASA Aerospace History Fellow. Before joining the Smithsonian, Weitekamp taught in the Women’s Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.
She is the author of Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013), written with David DeVorkin and illustrated by Diane Kidd, and co-editor with Anne Collins Goodyear of the ninth volume in the Artefacts series on the material culture of science and technology, Analyzing Art and Aesthetics (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2013). Her book Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004; paperback 2006), won the 2004 Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature from the American Astronautical Society. She is currently developing a new book project, a social and cultural history of space memorabilia.
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