Congratulations to the Smithsonian

By January 31, 2008Culture and Entertainment

dangerous.jpgThe National Air and Space Museum has just received a surprise $15 million gift that will allow the Smithsonian to add a new wing to the wonderful Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center out near Dulles Airport. As The Washington Post reports today, the wing will allow visitors to watch the restoration of historic aircraft.

Congratulations and gratitude are due especially to D. Travis Engen, who donated the money in honor of his father, the late Donald Engen — a Navy pilot, admiral, head of the FAA, and former director of the Air and Space Museum — and the senior Engen’s wife, Mary Baker Engen.

Travis Engen, we note, was president and chief executive officer of Alcan, the global aluminum company. Once again, success in the private sector and large, energy-consuming industries had produced wonderful charitable results. We hope the Smithsonian understands this connection better than it did a few months ago.

And since we’re applauding the Smithsonian today, we’ll admit to be surprised at seeing “The Dangerous Book for Boys” displayed so prominently in the Natural History Museum’s giftshop. Honestly, we would have thought the book too politically incorrect for the Smithsonian, so kudos. The book is bound to inspire a new generation of craftsmen, engineers, scientists and people who know how to have fun. (Stopping by the Renwick to catch a quilting exhibit, we saw the book there, too. Very good.) The Daring Book for Girls was also on display.

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