Large French bronze balloon clock, signed Japy Freres. 27 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Fontaine's Auction Gallery.

Smithsonian acquires early hot air ballooning collection

Large French bronze balloon clock, signed Japy Freres. 27 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Fontaine's Auction Gallery.

Large French bronze balloon clock, signed Japy Freres. 27 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Fontaine’s Auction Gallery.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has acquired a collection of more than 1,000 works of art, prints, objects and other materials documenting early human flight, beginning with balloons.

The museum announced this month that it has acquired the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection.

The collection recalls the excitement at the first sights of colorful balloons rising into the air in Europe in 1783. At the time, many people sought out images of the balloons and the men and women who flew them.

Kendall began collecting memorabilia from the early days of flight in the 1920s and amassed a large collection. Highlights include paintings of balloon flights in Europe, America and Japan.

The collection was donated by the Norfolk Charitable Trust based in Sharon, Mass.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-30-14 0916GMT