#OnThisDay: Dec. 17 – 24

Discovery Park of America is filled with artifacts, replicas, history, science, art and more. Our mission is to inspire children and adults to see beyond, and we do so by sharing educational content online and throughout our museum.

We share weekly updates on anniversaries and significant moments in history, and where you can find items related to these dates through our museum and heritage park.

Transportation Gallery

  • Dec. 17, 1903 (117th anniversary) – Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully flew the first powered plane for 12 seconds near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Military Gallery

  • Dec. 18, 1865 (155th anniversary) – The 13th Amendment was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, officially abolishing slavery in America.
  • Dec. 19, 1941 (79th anniversary) – In a major shake-up of the military high command, Adolf Hitler assumes the position of commander in chief of the German army during World War II.

Freedom Square: Liberty Hall

  • Dec. 19, 1777 (243rd anniversary) – Gen. George Washington and his troops arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 22 miles from British-occupied Philadelphia.

STEM Landing

  • Dec. 21, 1968 (52nd anniversary)Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on this day. On Christmas Eve, the astronauts entered into orbit around the moon.
  • Dec. 19, 1972 (48th anniversary) – The Apollo lunar-landing program ended on this day when the last three astronauts to travel to the moon splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean. This lunar mission was called Apollo 17.

Natural History Gallery

  • Dec. 23, 1938 (82nd anniversary) – A living coelacanth, thought to have gone extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period, was discovered off the east coast of South Africa.

Technology Gallery

  • Dec. 24, 1906 (114th anniversary) – The first radio broadcast for entertainment and music was transmitted from Brant Rock, Massachusetts to the public.