Preview: Welcome Aboard – The Pan Am Experience

As hundreds of people get ready to hit the airports on their way home for the holidays, we thought we’d reminisce a bit about the good old days of ‘Jet Age’ of travel when passengers enjoyed real silverware, fine dining, and immaculately styled stewardesses delivering deliciously strong Clipper cocktails.  Ah, don’t we miss Pan Am?

On the heels of the highly successful Braniff exhibition last year, Modernism Week is proud to present “Welcome Aboard – The Pan Am Experience” a very special exhibition from the private collection of actor Phillip Keene (Buzz Watson of  The Closer and Major Crimes).  The exhibition explores the ‘World’s Most Experienced Airlines’ extensive inventory of memorabilia and uniforms that cover the ‘Jet Age’ of the airlines operation.  Among the many items on display are the complete first class dinner service collections designed by Raymond Loewy and Noritake, and everything that made flying Pan Am a luxurious and glamorous adventure.

From its launch in 1927, Pan American World Airways was the principal and largest international carrier in the United States until its collapse in 1991.  What started out as a a scheduled air mail and passenger service operating between Key West, Florida, and Havana, Cuba eventually evolved into a major company credited with the innovations that shaped the international airline industry, including the widespread use of jet aircraft, jumbo jets, and computerized reservation systems.  At the height of Pan Am’s success, the airline was well regarded for its modern fleet and experienced and professional crews: cabin staff were multilingual and usually college graduates, frequently with nursing training.  During this period, Pan Am’s onboard service and cuisine, inspired by Maxim’s de Paris, were delivered “with a personal flair that has rarely been equaled.

Included in the display are the original uniforms worn by the stewardesses, pilots and stewards designed by such notables as Evan Picone, Adolfo, Don Loper and Edith Head whose design concept was based on, “Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady”.  Pan Am introduced the Boeing 747 creating the favorite airline of the rich and famous and was renowned for its stylish stewardesses, first-class amenities, including the first sleeper seats, fine dining and Clipper cocktails.

Welcome Aboard – The Pan Am Experience will be on show at the Saguaro Hotel in the California Poppy Room from 10:30am to 4:30pm from February 15 through February 24.  Admission is $10.  More info here.

 

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