The San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Library & Archives recently received a three-year Federal grant of $334,000 from the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) to process, catalog, and digitize 120,000 historic photo negatives from the Consolidated/Convair/General Dynamics Corporation in San Diego.
“Consolidated Aircraft Company, later Convair/General Dynamics played a critical role in the advancement of the nation’s aerospace industry, and digitizing this collection of images is essential to unlocking its full historic potential and ensuring its long term survivability,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Receiving this grant from the NEH is a direct reflection of the important work being conducted by our Museum’s Library & Archives.”
The Convair Company is arguably one of the most significant and successful aircraft manufacturing companies in the nation. Best known for their military aircraft, Convair played a large role in the history of this country, but they were also on the cutting edge of the space age.
At the heart of all of this innovation, Convair began as a “people first” operation, where employees were more important than the products produced. Because of this, many of the images in this collection that will be digitized are of the men and women who worked there, providing a rare window into the workforce that propelled America through World War I through the Cold War.
The digitization process is a continuation of the Museum’s Library & Archives ongoing Great Explorations: Increasing Access to Our Aerospace Heritage program. Through the digitization of the records from the Museum’s one-of-a-kind Consolidated/Convair/General Dynamics collection, Great Explorations will greatly advance research into the history of America’s national defense, the space program, the development of the aerospace industry, and the Cold War.
Once completed, the digitized materials will be available for viewing on the Museum’s Flickr site. Links to the digital images will also be added to the existing finding guide for the Convair/General Dynamics corporate papers. The Museum’s Flickr site receives over 30 million views each year.
To learn more about the Museum's image collection, including copyright, usage and reproduction, click here!