Skip to main content

Louis Purnell Named Curator at National Air and Space Museum 1980

@ Smithsonian Archives - History Div

Purnell, Louis R National Air and Space Museum National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)


Chronology of Smithsonian HistoryLouis R. Purnell, Oral history Interviews, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9578Bellizzi, Courtney. "Louis Purnell, Airman and Curator." Smithsonian Institution Archives. February 22, 2011. R. Purnell becomes curator of the Department of Space Science of the National Air and Space Museum, thus becoming the Smithsonian Institution's first African American curator. Purnell was a Tuskegee Airman who started working for the Smithsonian Institution in 1961 as a Museum Specialist with the National Museum of Natural History. He would become an instrumental part of building the astronautics branch of NASM, becoming the world's foremost expert on space suits. He was also instrumental in bringing the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit to life.Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,

Record Contributed By

Smithsonian Archives - History Div

Record Harvested From

Smithsonian Institution