In the words of Museum Curator, Gordon Calhoun, “Few inventions have moved human imagination as much as airships. With the ability to move faster than ships in the water and stay up in the air longer than fixed wing aircraft, the U.S. Navy’s airship community had unbridled optimism about their vessels. Even in the face of disasters and failures, this community of dreamers always believed that the airship could serve the Fleet in ways no other platform could.”  

About the Speaker:  Gordon Calhoun is a historian and curator with the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.  A graduate of the College of the Wooster and Old Dominion University, he has worked with Navy museums for 27 years as a curator, editor, and historian and has given numerous talks on a variety of U.S. Naval subjects.   His specialty is 19th century American history.  Outside of his official duties, he owns and operates a thoroughbred horse farm with his wife just north of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  

Note: Due to security requirements at the Washington Navy Yard, you will need to be escorted onto the base. If taking metro, get on the Green Line and exit the Navy Yard/Ballpark stop, then walk to the entrance at 11th and O Street SE (about 15 minutes). Plan to arrive at the entrance gate by noon. A museum educator will be at the entrance gate to bring you onto the base and to the museum (Bldg. 76). The last gate pickup will occur at 12:20 PM. If you need to contact the museum on the day of the program, call our front desk at 202.685.0589.

CAC holders, active duty and retired military members and their dependents do not need to be escorted.   

Parking:  There is no parking at Washington Navy Yard; however, paid and free parking is located in various areas surrounding the yard. 

Register for this program on Eventbrite.


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For more information about this program, email the National Museum of the U.S. Navy at



USS Los Angeles airship (ZR-3) on the Science and Invention magazine cover, 1928.  Image courtesy of the National Archives