Imperial War Museum Duxford is delighted to announce that one of its most significant exhibits has been chosen by the BBC and Cambridgeshire museums to tell the story of Cambridgeshire and its place in world history.

The list of 10 objects chosen for Cambridgeshire is part of the wider A History of the World project, formed of a unique partnership between the BBC, the British Museum and 350 museums and institutions across the country. The IWM Duxford exhibit, an unremarkable-looking piece of fabric, is taken from the Flyer, the aircraft in which theWright Brothers made their inaugural flight on 17 December 1903.

This powered, sustained and controlled flight, the first ever, marked the birth of modern aviation. This fascinating artefact gives visitors to Duxford the opportunity to understand how the Wright Brothers succeeded where previous pioneers had not. It is possible to trace the development of aviation technology from that very first flight to the contemporary aircraft of today.

Wright Flyer Fabric

Wright Flyer Fabric

This inaugural flight contributed to the course of history in the 20th century, enabling technological advancement, world exploration, socio-demographic change, economic developments and strategic aerial warfare. Without this piece of fabric, and the flight of this aeroplane, none of the iconic aircraft, that are so admired today, would exist. And there would be no hopping on a plane to those favourite holiday destinations!

Richard Ashton, Director, Imperial War Museum Duxford said, “I am thrilled that the importance of the Wright Flyer has been recognised in terms of its regional significance and its impact on global history. It is fantastic to be collaborating with such illustrious company on a truly exciting project.”