Monday, March 12, 2012

Filmmaker Ken Burns and Balloonist Sir Richard Branson Praise the Intrepid

We are very excited about the praise renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and adventure balloonist and Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson are giving the historic reconstruction of the Civil War Balloon, the Intrepid which will take flight this summer here at GCV&M.
We hope you will find the comments of these gentlemen just as exciting....

"Bravo for the reproduction of the The Intrepid by the Genesee Country Village & Museum. The history of aviation is fascinating and a bit misunderstood. Long before the Wright Brothers took flight on the dunes of North Carolina in 1903; two other brothers – Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier – were the first true pilots when they took to the skies in a hot-air balloon in 1783. Between those two dates, the first military use of aviation took place during the American Civil War in September of 1861 when The Intrepid flew above a Virginia battlefield. I’m proud that my small contribution to aviation history has involved flying balloons where they had not been flown before (across the Pacific and Atlantic), and I’m thrilled that the authentic reproduction of the Intrepid will help keep the rich history of ballooning alive."

Sir Richard Branson
Chairman, Virgin Group

"I was thrilled to hear that the Genesee Country Village & Museum is building a working replica of The Intrepid - a gas balloon that flew during the Civil War. On September 24, 1861 The Intrepid flew above a Virginia battlefield during the Civil War and made history. It was the first use of aviation in warfare and, with the help of a telegraph wire, the first time artillery was directed at an unseen enemy. That modest flight was a harbinger of the horrific role aviation would play in the world wars of the 20th Century.

The mission for the Genesee Country Village & Museum states that it seeks "…to foster a deeper understanding of the past and its relevance to the contemporary world." This is exactly what we try to do with our films such as "The Civil War" and, most recently, "Prohibition." Both strive to create a strong emotional connection with history and help us better understand who we are as Americans today. I have filmed at Genesee Country Village & Museum; it's a beautiful, living slice of 19th Century America and this new exhibit is an exciting addition. I also can't help but think that this balloon is going to make a great camera platform the next time I'm filming in Upstate New York!"

Ken Burns

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