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Burke, Laurence M., II

Former Curator of U.S. Naval Aviation

Positions

Dr. Burke is interested in the history of technology, military history, and their intersection, particularly the history of military innovation and how technology and doctrine interact.

Professional Biography

  • Dr. Burke is the Curator for U.S. Naval Aviation at the National Air and Space Museum.  He is interested in the history of technology, military history, and their intersection, particularly the history of military innovation and how technology and doctrine interact.  Before starting work at the Smithsonian, he held a Secretary of the Navy Innovation History Fellowship (post-doc) at the U.S. Naval Academy from 2015-2016.

Public Biography

  • Dr. Burke is the Curator of U.S. Naval Aviation at the National Air and Space Museum, responsible for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps fixed-wing aircraft collection and the history of naval aviation.  His research interests include the history of technology, military history (especially naval history), and the areas where these two fields overlap, such as the history of military innovation.  Before starting work at the Smithsonian, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at the U.S. Naval Academy where he helped teach history to midshipmen.  His dissertation looked at the early history of U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps aviation from 1908 through the end of World War I.  It examines how the three services' aviation activities developed, both in technology and in how they intended to use airplanes.  He is currently working to turn the first part of his dissertation (up to U.S. entry into the war in 1917) into a book.