Fri Nov 2 – Sat Mar 2, 2019 10:00am – 5:00pm

New Haven’s WWI Aviator Exhibit

Sponsored by: New Haven Museum

“Gilbert Jerome: New Haven’s WWI Aviator” is an unusual and intimate exhibit capturing the brief, enthusiastic embrace of life by New Haven native and Boy Scout Executive Lt. Gilbert Jerome during World War One (WWI).  “Gilbert” offers a bittersweet glimpse of WWI through the eyes of an artistic soul enchanted by the wonder and excitement of aviation, and the tender regard with which he held his family. The exhibit includes excerpts from Jerome’s diary, the charming letters, sketches, and tiny watercolors he sent home from “in the field,” and striking memorabilia on loan from the Connecticut Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America. On view through March 2, 2019.

Sweeping over the French countryside at 120 mph in an aeroplane crafted of wood, wire and canvas, Jerome had the time of his life. Fewer than 20 years after Kitty Hawk, the world was captivated by the glamor and danger of early flight. Aviators were the pampered aristocrats of war, soaring high above the horrors of the trenches. Well-fed, and with plenty of down time, they spent much of their time behind the lines in camps geared to keeping the cadets in top shape. Heading to France for flight training, Jerome naively quipped in a letter, “I cannot get over the feeling that we are off on a sort of grand pleasure tour in which Uncle Sam pays the bills and conducts the tour…”

Artifacts in the exhibit include Jerome’s dog tags, the altimeter and a wooden strut from his SPAD XIII aeroplane, and the wooden marker from his original gravesite in France, all on loan by the Connecticut Yankee Council, Boy Scouts of America, in New Haven.

Evident in Jerome’s correspondence, writing, and photos is a boyish sense of fun, from his poem, “The Great Disappointment,” recounting his distress on learning that there were no French fries in France—to assurances to his mother that his underwear was sufficiently warm.

Admission: $2-$4
New Haven Museum
114 Whitney Ave
New Haven
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