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Dirigible Dreams

Information about the Dirigible Dreams exhibition.

Three 2-D artworks, part of the Dirigible Dreams exhibition, all framed in a simple, light wood tone frame. All feature black ink newspaper illustrations from the mid 19th century with text copy artfully arranged around the illustrations.

Capturing the Imagination

The dream of navigating the skies became a reality in the mid-1850s with the Griffin airship. Like with the balloon, France led the charge and was the birthplace of the airship. Meanwhile, in 1863 Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin of Germany was on a year’s leave as an officer in the Württemberg army to observe the American Civil War. The Count experienced his first balloon ascent in St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 19, 1863, which inspired him to invent the rigid airship that would change the world and bear his name.

With new Zeppelins and other airships taking to the skies throughout Europe and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, airship mania took hold, and this seemingly futuristic means of transport, communication, and connectivity was permeating society and culture. From postcards, advertisements, music, and pop culture in general, the sleek, silver airships were the embodiment of futuristic visions of air travel and were everywhere! They immediately captivated the imaginations of people worldwide as they were beacons of modernity and hope for what could be possible for the future of humanity.