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Curtiss Jenny's Airlplane

What is the Curtiss Explorers Club?

The Curtiss Explorers Club is a research program that offers kids the opportunity to make unique and fun historical discoveries while learning how to be research experts. With guidance from teachers and librarians, students search for a forgotten person or animal in history that has made a positive impact on their community or our nation.

Why Should Anyone Care About an Unsung Hero/Shero?

There are many people and animals that have made a positive and significant impact in their communities or the nation, but are not widely known and have not received appropriate recognition for their efforts. It’s time to expand our history to include those who have been overlooked for far too long.

Where are Unsung Heroes and Sheroes Found?

Everywhere! Maybe in a book or an article, or in a reference to someone in a movie or television program? The Internet? A family member? Exploring is part of the fun! Just look around. They really are everywhere and just waiting to be discovered by a Curtiss Explorer.

Would You Like to Be a Curtiss Explorer?

If so, visit your local branch library for more information and to enter the program.

Contest Details

To enter, send your 300‑500 word essay with a thesis statement and at least three bibliographic citations to by March 1, 2018. Twelve finalists will be chosen by March 15 and will be invited to present their work* at a designated MDPLS branch or the Curtiss Mansion in Miami Springs on April 18. The awards ceremony will take place on May 21 at the Curtiss Mansion.

Great prizes will be awarded!

Each of the 12 finalists will receive an award and prize. In addition, three finalists will receive:

1st Place: Laptop

2nd Place: iPad Mini

3rd Place: Bluetooth Speaker



Download the Brochure


Curtiss Mansion

Cristina Rodriguez, Director of Marketing, Miami Children’s Museum

Dr. Paul George, Resident Historian for HistoryMiami Museum

Captain Jacqueline Neetz, Miami‑Dade Fire Rescue Department, CMI (Curtiss Mansion Inc.) Board Member

South Dade Regional

Michael Stiles, Senior Pastor, Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Homestead

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, Miami‑Dade County, District 8

Lieutenant Elton J. Lee, Miami‑Dade County Police Department


Dr. Jennifer Veilleux, Geographer & Water Security Expert

Dr. Veilleux is a human and physical geographer. She researches water security of transboundary rivers; that is, rivers that cross political boundaries. In her work she analyzes how development changes major rivers and impacts international, national, and local communities by visiting and speaking with those communities. She has published her findings in Science, Limnology & Oceanography, among other academic journals, books, and magazines, and has been cited in several online and print news publications to include Foreign Affairs, National Geographic, and High Country News. Veilleux's fieldwork destinations include Albania, the Bahamas, Egypt, Ethiopia, FYR Macedonia, Greece, Laos, Tanzania, and the United States. Aside from writing and presenting on her research, she also photo‑documents field sites and Indigenous People engaged in traditional culture. Most recently, she is providing her research skills with Indigenous Leaders for the Dakota Pipeline controversy. She currently works as a Postdoctoral Associate for Florida International University’s Stephen J. Gould School of International and Political Affairs and is coauthor of the Cambridge University Press manuscript “National Security and Water.”

“I believe that as a scientist I not only have a role as observer and documentarian, but responsibility to cross that line to act and advocate when the situation calls for it.”

Her publications and photography can be found on her website:

Download the Evaluation Rubric

Encounter! Meeting your subject for the first time, and thinking, “Hmm, I wonder who that is?” is the first step.

Examine! Then you begin to wonder, “What did he/she do? When did he/she live?” You ask yourself if this is a real hero/shero and start reading and taking notes.

Plan! Ask a librarian, teacher or for research guidelines and you will learn about validity, reliability, plagiarism, citing sources, copyright, public domain, evaluating websites and other sources, using primary and secondary sources, and more. You have the start of your thesis statement!

Organize! Your topic is now taking shape. You define questions, set a plan for your course of action, identify specific questions and what was going on in the world at the time of the heroic act, and ask more questions. Your thesis statement may need to be refined at this point.

Research! Dig in and find more information by yourself. Conduct interviews, use databases, newspaper articles, books, primary and secondary sources, etc. By this time, you will be getting to know your subject and will be almost ready to tell the world about your discovery.

Evidence! Cite your sources and back it up with a bibliography.

Reveal! It’s show time! Stand up for your hero or shero and let the judges know why.

Note: Explorers are welcome to use established research methods like Big6, FINDS, etc.

The Inspiration

Glenn Hammond Curtiss Portrait

Who is Glenn Hammond Curtiss?

Glenn Hammond Curtiss (1878‑1930) was an American aviation pioneer, inventor and real estate developer. A recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for his work and efforts during World War I, his many accomplishments and contributions include establishing the cities of Miami Springs, Hialeah and Opa‑locka, and platting 52 subdivisions in then Dade County. Curtiss built the Hialeah Race Track, Miami Jai‑Alai Fronton, Miami Kennel Club and Miami Film Studio, and established Miami's first airport. In 2003, with over 500 inventions and 400 patents (the last 10 of which were created in his garage at the Curtiss Mansion), Curtiss was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Despite his achievements, he is a footnote in history—a true unsung hero. The Curtiss Mansion hopes to shine a light on him and other unsung heroes while promoting sound research and critical thinking skills among our youth.

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