Fort Caspar Museum has opened a new exhibit for fall: West Across the Skies: Air Transportation in Wyoming. The exhibit contains thirty photographs representing the state’s aviation history, from the biplane to jet aviation. Part of the Wyoming State Museum’s traveling exhibit program, West Across the Skies will be on view through September 25th.

During the 19th century, Wyoming served as a major transportation corridor for wagon trains, stage coaches, and the transcontinental railroad. Later, the Lincoln Highway brought automobile transportation through the Equality State. It is perhaps no surprise that with the advent of air travel, the skies over Wyoming would form yet another type of transportation corridor. West Across the Skies explores Wyoming’s relationship with aviation in the 20th century.

Prior to 1920, aviation in Wyoming was represented by “barnstormers” and other aerial “thrill seekers” who used airplanes for entertainment. World War I, however, transformed airplanes into powerful weapons, which, after the war, were used by the Post Office to transport mail across the country. Wyoming was a preferred hub for mail transportation due to its elevation and the railroad tracks visible to pilots from the air: they called the tracks their “iron compass.” Later, passenger aviation moved into Wyoming, and during World War II, the Casper Army Air Base trained over 16,000 crew members for aerial combat in B-17s and B-24s.