Charles Lindbergh's flight goggles return home to Minnesota

The Minnesota History Center has just acquired a new artifact that helps tell the story of one of our most famous residents, Charles Lindbergh.

Lindbergh was just a young man from Minnesota when he connected the world with a single flight from New York to Paris in 1927.

Now, History Center Curator Sondra Reierson has brought part of the Lindbergh legacy back home.

A pair of Fischer pilot goggles made for the U.S. Navy are giving visitors another window into the legend’s career. Reierson said there isn’t any documentation showing what flights the pilot might have worn them on, but they do know Lindbergh’s widow gave them to her physician in New York in the 1930s. The physician then kept them in a display case in his office, and the history center acquired them for $8,500 in an auction.

Lindbergh’s ties to Minnesota go back to his childhood home in Little Falls where his home and a museum are part of the Minnesota Historical Society.

“Of course, Charles saw his first flight, he saw the first airplane fly over the family farm there in Little Falls, and that brought him all the way to his famous career in aviation,” Reierson said.

Though the History Center still has only a small number of artifacts from his aviation career, the newest addition helps fill in the whole picture.

“When I think of Charles Lindbergh, I also think about other explorers, the Ann Bancrofts, the Will Stiegers of Minnesota’s history where you have a lot of innovation happening in this state being inspired by lives lived here,” Reierson said. “So, those goggles, they saw a lot of this world because a boy from Minnesota grew up thinking big.”  

The history center is in the process of digitizing them to view online and hopes to perhaps display them at the Lindbergh House and Musem in Little Falls.