On February 6, 2010 a group of interested kite enthusiasts gathered at Discovery Landing, on the Lake Ontario shoreline in Burlington, Ontario, to immerse themselves in day dedicated to the exploration of kite history. This was the first ever Kite History Symposium held in eastern North America.
The event was sponsored and organized by the Canadian Kite Museum under the direction of George Paisiovich, Museum Founder and Director.
The program for the day featured:
- a two hour informal morning gathering of the registered kiters examining historic kite artefacts, photographs and print materials;
- a welcome to the Kite History Symposium by George Paisiovich in which he outlined his goal of providing a periodic forum for the discussion and advancement of knowledge of kite history;
- a one hour presentation by Bob White of Port Colborne, ON about the kites of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. This preliminary report on research in progress brought participants up to date on the work being done to carefully detail the step by step progress made by Dr. Bell on his path to understand the principles of flight and to get a person into the air.
- a presentation by Meg Albers of Buffalo, NY on the kite exploits of Homan Walsh whose kite helped to build a bridge across the Niagara River in 1848. Meg also revealed some documents she has received that prove the use of kites during the American Civil War. She continues her research into kites in the Civil War era.
- a two hour presentation by Thom Shanken of Waterloo, NY about his research into the world's oldest kite currently located at the Drachen Foundation in Seattle, WA. Thom Shanken, an expert in 16th century kites, was invited by the Drachen Foundation to examine the kite and make a detailed analysis of this amazing historical find. Thom presented slides and an interesting description of his work with the kite. Following this, a replica of the kite was constructed by the participants. The replica is detailed in the slide show below. The replica is now part of the collection of the Canadian Kite History Museum.
At the end of the day, the participants gathered for an informal evening meal and conversation about the events of the day.
A terrific slide show of the Kite History Symposium was prepared by Ted Shaw of the Great Lakes Kitefliers in Western New York state. My appreciation is extended to Ted for allowing me to share his photos of the event here.
The next Kite History Symposium sponsored by the Canadian Kite Museum will be held in October 2010. As details are announced I will provide a link to the information here.
Appreciation is extended to George Paisiovich for his outstanding work in support of the preservation of kite history and efforts to foster and disseminate knowledge of current kite history research work that is underway.