The American Geographical Society acquired its Fliers and Explorers Globe in 1929 as a gift from AGS President John H. Finley. In his position as Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times, Finley invited early heroes of exploration and aviation to draw their routes and sign their names on his 18-inch globe. The Society has continued the custom and, in so doing, has created a priceless and unique symbol of humanity’s unquenchable drive to explore the universe.
Signers of the Fliers & Explorers Globe over the years are men and women who have explored certain places on earth for the first time in recorded history, reached new extremes of height or depth, pioneered new means of travel, or set aviation records. Their accomplishments have been made at great personal physical risk. Among them are such people as Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Sir Edmund Hillary, William Beebe, the Apollo 8 astronauts and Neil Armstrong.
Signers of the Fliers & Explorers Globe are proposed by AGS’ Exploration Committee for approval by the AGS Honors Committee and confirmation by the AGS Council. New signatures were added to the globe most recently in April 2012 at the historic headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg, Russia. Also a signing occurred in February 2008 at the Roselle Center for the Arts at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. And before that, the Globe was signed in November 2006 at a ceremony held at the Upjohn Center on the campus of Western Michigan, at the AGS offices in December 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia at a ceremony convened at the Atlanta History Center in May 2004, and in March 2004 at a ceremony convened in The Powerhouse at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
In 2003, Marsh and the United States Aircraft Insurance Group, sponsored a physical restoration of the globe at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. In 2012, twelve replicas of the globe were commissioned through a grant from Mikhail Slipenchuk, the Director General of Metropol and thirteen copies (one for the original and twelve for the replicas) of the original stand of the globe were also built through a grant from Valery Chkalov, grandson of Valery Chkalov who signed the globe in 1937.
GLOBE FACTS AND FIGURES
- Circumference/Diameter: 18 inches
- Age: 92
- Year given to AGS: 1929
- # of signers: 82
- Date of last signing: 2012
- Estimated value: The Globe is considered priceless and is recognized as one of the rarest globes in the world.
GOOGLE 3D GLOBE
In 2013 our Intern Bernd Loigge created an interactive version of the globe for Google Earth. You can download the kmz here to view it in a higher resolution or you explore the globe in the KML-Viewer below. To watch the file on your computer you have to download Google Earth first.