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Burgess of Marblehead:
People, Places and Planes

The exhibit explores the pioneering aviation work of Starling Burgess, whose Marblehead airplane factory produced some of the most innovative airplanes and sea-planes of the early 20th-century.

Although he is best remembered as a yacht designer, Starling Burgess became interested in the emerging field of aviation. He studied with the Wright Brothers, and in 1911, built “The Flying Fish”, noted for making the first flight in New England.

William J. Deane, President and Journal Editor of the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society characterizes Burgess as “a highly successful aviation innovator and businessman.” He credits Burgess’ success to his genius for bringing together the best management and investment partners to successfully realize his original designs and to achieve his ambitious business plan.

In the 1930s, Burgess went on to design three America’s Cup defenders, and worked with Buckminster Fuller on the experimental Dymaxion automobile. “Burgess’ interest in scientific experimentation allowed him to move rather deftly between yacht design, airplane design and auto design,” adds Deane.

The exhibition features early photographs from Fred Lichtman’s collection of glass plate negatives, belonging to both the Marblehead Museum and the Marblehead Historical Commission. Replicas of several planes from the era will also be on display.

The exhibit also has assistance from the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society, the Burgess Museum at the Plum Island Airfield.


Burgess Portrait


Burgess Dunn


Burgess Factory


The exhibition runs through September 16


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The Marblehead Museum & Historical Society

170 Washington St., Marblehead, MA 01945

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