Story By Hannah Goldfinger
Photos By Robert Noles and Edward Sikora
Contibuted Photos By The Opelika Public Library
Beginning in early February, AIM High: Soaring with the Tuskegee Airmen, will visit the Opelika Public Library for two months, allowing children to learn more about aviation and the historic Tuskegee Airmen.
“[The exhibit] honors the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by exploring STEAM concepts and aviation themes through the lens of the pioneering group’s Six Guiding Principles,” said information from the Opelika Public Library. “Inspired by the tools and tasks connected to airplanes and flying, the interactive exhibit mixes real artifacts with hands-on imaginative play. AIM High will let visitors of all ages imagine themselves as future aviators, inspired by the stories from the past.”
There will be ten different parts of the exhibit, listed by the Opelika Public Library, as follows:
Cockpit Flight Trainer: Get an up-close view of the inside of a Cockpit Flight Trainer. Watch videos of the plane taking off and landing from the captain’s seat vantage point. This life-size Cockpit Flight Trainer is perfect for dramatic play and also includes a row of actual airplane seats.
Dress-Up, Light-Up Photo-Op Mirror: Choose the outfit of one of the many jobs necessary in the aviation and aeronautics industries. See yourself as a pilot, a mechanic, engineer, ground-crew or flight attendant. Be whoever you want to be.
Land The Plan Radar Maze: Tilt the table to roll the ball through the maze while avoiding other aircraft in the sky, like an Air Trac Controller. Take a breath, concentrate and see how long it takes you to land your airplane.
Flying Machines In Motion: Bring drawings of flying machines to life using the praxinoscope, an early form of animation. From DaVinci’s flying machine to hot air balloons and rockets, this creative and interactive device lets users spin pre-made illustrations and view them in motion on the mirrored display above.
Wearable Wings and Runway Run: Assemble your own pair of wearable wings and then try them on for size before racing down the runway. Learn what the numbers and letters on the runway mean and imagine where you will go.
Airplane Hangar Table: Assemble a P51 Mustang using Discovery Cards to learn facts about the iconic airplane and how to create your own mini-version.
Magnetic Tangrams: Explore the six principles of the Tuskegee Airmen through tangrams. These seven piece geometric puzzles make shapes representing these principles and share the stories behind each one.
View Finder: Scroll through an interactive slide show featuring the historical images of the Tuskegee Airmen and their airplanes, as well as the generations of men and women who followed in their footsteps.
Airplane Launcher: Using just paper and tape, design and build your own custom airplane. Then, take it to the flight table and use a plunger launcher to propel the plane into the air.
Artifact Displays: Dive into aviation history by exploring historical artifacts and information panels on display. Learn about the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen and their influence on the future of the aviation.
The exhibit will run from Feb. 3 through April 28. It will only be open to the public on Monday and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for field trips.
The Opelika Public Library has opportunities for docents, or guides, for the exhibit. Those interested in applying can do so at: bit.ly/oplah. Interested docents must be over 16 years old.
The library is also seeking sponsors during this exhibit.