SOURCE: Genesee Country Village & Museum

Genesee Country Village & Museum

March 06, 2012 06:00 ET

Intrepid Reconstruction Gains Backing of Filmmaker Ken Burns and Balloonist Sir Richard Branson

World's Only Manned Civil War Balloon Replica Takes Flight This Summer

MUMFORD, NY--(Marketwire - Mar 6, 2012) - Genesee Country Village & Museum's (GCV&M: Intrepid forthcoming exhibit -- the world's only Civil War manned balloon replica -- has garnered the attention of two prominent supporters. Renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and adventure balloonist and Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson are praising the historic reconstruction, which will take to the air this summer.

"I was thrilled to hear that the Genesee Country Village & Museum is building a working replica of the Intrepid," Burns said. "On September 24, 1861, the Intrepid flew above a Virginia battlefield during the Civil War and made history. I have filmed at Genesee Country Village & Museum; it's a beautiful, living slice of the 19th-Century America and this new exhibit is an exciting addition."

Burns said the museum's mission to foster a deeper understanding of the past and its relevance to the contemporary world is what he tries to do with his films such as The Civil War and Prohibition`. Both strive to create a strong emotional connection with history and help citizens better understand themselves as Americans today.

Branson was equally enthusiastic. "Bravo for the reproduction of the Intrepid by the Genesee Country Village & Museum. The history of aviation is fascinating and a bit misunderstood," he said. "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."

The Intrepid is being built by AeroBalloon Inc. of Hingham, Mass., with historical guidance from GCV&M and a team of prominent advisors including Tom D. Crouch, Ph.D., senior curator of the Aeronautics for the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum; Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and Rob Shenk, director, Internet Strategy & Development, Civil War Trust.

The initiative's total estimated cost of nearly $300,000 has been partially offset by a number of generous donations. As construction progresses, GCV&M will continue to seek additional financial support for the project. Its first public flight at GCV&M is expected to take place on July 4, 2012.

About Genesee Country Village & Museum
Genesee Country Village & Museum helps visitors understand the lives and times of 19th-century America through interactive programs, events and exhibits. It is the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State and maintains the third largest collection of historic buildings in the United States. The 700-acre complex consists of 68 historic structures furnished with 15,000 artifacts to provide an authentic 19th-century environment in which visitors can interact with knowledgeable, third-person historic interpreters in period-appropriate dress. For more information, please visit

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