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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 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.

  • Thais de Leon-Perez, Design Technology and Engineering Teacher
  • Grant Gravitt, Jr., Television Producer/President Tel-Air Interests
  • Margie Lopez, Executive Director, Miami Bach Society
  • Miami Springs Councilwoman Maria Mitchell
  • Reverend Kit Robison, Grace Lutheran Church
Portrait of Nadege Green

We are honored to have Ms. Nadege Green as the mentor for the 2017‑2018 Curtiss Explorers Program. Ms. Green is an award‑winning journalist for WLRN, the local National Public Radio affiliate. Ms. Green focuses on social justice issues, giving voice to people and topics in South Florida with a special interest in the Haitian community. She has been recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Florida AP Broadcaster Awards. Ms. Green has a degree in English with specialization in professional writing from Barry University.

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.

A partnership between the Miami‑Dade Public Library System and

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Thank you to our sponsor:

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