On Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, Dr. David S. Silverman, associate professor of Communication Studies at Kansas Wesleyan University, delivered a 1950s vintage aerial reconnaissance camera to David Moreno, archivist at the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita.
Given that the camera, a Fairchild K-37, was originally donated to Kansas State College in 1959 after it was decommissioned, it’s likely that it was used during the Cold War on RB-57 Canberras for nighttime aerial reconnaissance that were stationed here in Kansas — possibly at Schilling Air Force Base in Salina, according to Moreno. Other K-37s flew on U-2 spy planes in the 1950s and ’60s, and one is on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
According to Dr. Dorothy Hanna, professor of Chemistry at KWU, the camera found its way to the university and sat forgotten for many years until a recent effort to clear out storage areas made it apparent that KWU could no longer keep it. Dr. Silverman, a Cold War history buff, expressed an interest in the camera and sought out a museum that would put it on display.
The camera, valued in excess of $2,500, joins a growing collection of aerial reconnaissance cameras at the Kansas Aviation Museum that Moreno hopes to put on display in the near future.