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Air museum director speaking July 24, on WWI pilots, planes

“WWI Pilots & their Planes” will be the topic of a free talk by Glenn Blackaby, director of Minot’s Dakota Territory Air Museum at 5:30 Tuesday evening, July 24, 2018. Hamburgers and hot dogs will also be available off the grill while they last.

“The airplane was in its infancy leading up to WWI,” Blackaby said, “and military and political leaders saw flying as an amusing pastime with little military value.” But on the battlefields of WWI, the airplane became an invaluable reconnaissance tool and gradually the airplane’s role was expanded leading to the development of fighters, bombers, seaplanes and more.

“Pilots became knights of the air,” Blackaby said. “Fliers like Rickenbacker, Guynemer, Garros, Boelcke and Richthofen became household names and were exploited to boost civilian morale.”

Blackaby put his lifelong interest in aviation to work as Dakota Territory Air Museum’s first full-time curator/director in 2007. Founded in 1986, the air museum tells the story of the area’s aviation history through displays of dozens of military and civilian aircraft from the early 1900s to the present.

Blackaby’s presentation on the changing role of planes and pilots in WWI is part of 2 years of WWI programming at the Prairie Village Museum, running from 2017 to the end of 2018 to commemorate 100 years since the end of WWI. The Museum also debuted its own original exhibition this year called WWI in Central ND: From Ploughboys to Doughboys. It puts the service of local Pierce County men into the global context of the war. The exhibit is open during normal operating hours and will run through the end of 2018.

Other upcoming events at the Prairie Village Museum include the 33rd Annual Village Fair on August 12, and the Village Fair Pre-Party on August 11. The Pre-Party will feature a hands-on blacksmithing class, a Museum-to-Museum car run, live music by Dave Trottier, bbq by Henry’s 90Wt Ribs, and beer flights provided by Souris River Brewing in Minot. The Village Fair on August 12 features demonstrations of prairie technology, fair food, kids activities, pancake breakfast, all faiths church service, and much more. Information on our events can be found on our social media and our website.

For more information, visit the museum website at or call 701-776-6414.

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