In the decade after Kitty Hawk, the new technology of human flight captured the public's imagination. A historical series of original airplanes and models, beginning with the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, were scattered around the building. Aircraft were hung above china, steam machinery, relics of the presidents, in any square inch of free space. A highlight of this era was May 13, 1928, when Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" was placed on display. Huge crowds flocked to the building to see this immensely popular plane.
—from Smithsonian Archives web exhibit