After COVID delay, plans move forward for Rogallo Museum at Jockey’s Ridge

By on September 16, 2022

Rendering of the proposed Rogallo Museum.

Plans are underway for a 12,000-square-foot museum at Jockey’s Ridge State Park (JRSP) that will honor Francis and Gertrude Rogallo, longtime Dare County residents who in 1948 invented the self-inflating, flexible wing now known as the paraglider.

Rogallo Foundation President and Kitty Hawk Kites owner John Harris said that the organization has revived efforts to make the museum a reality by working on a land lease with N.C. State Parks to build the museum on a piece of land just east of the park’s visitor center and hang-gliding concession building.

The Rogallo Foundation’s leaders first began working on the concept of such a museum about five years ago, Harris told the Voice. In 2018, in collaboration with N.C. State Parks, the foundation went through the site selection process and building concept design. The COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.

“We are getting back to working on getting that lease done,” said Harris, who noted that the construction of the museum and its exhibits, as well as operations, are estimated to cost $7 million, which will be raised through private donations and would be at no cost to the state. There is no timetable for the project, Harris said, but estimates an opening is about five years away.

“The Rogallos were great people who contributed a lot, and a lot of people don’t know their story and it’s an inspiring story,” he told the Voice.

Francis Rogallo, who died a year after his wife, in 2009, was known as the father of hang gliding. A former aeronautical engineer and researcher, he and wife Gertrude conducted the first successful flight of the flexibe wing in 1948 after conducting research in their in-house, homemade wind tunnel and at Jockey’s Ridge. Their invention led to the hang glider, paraglider, sport parachutes, delta kites, stunt kites and kiteboarding kites.

“The museum will tell the history of all these sports,” said Harris during a presentation at the Dare County Board of Commissioners Sept. 6 meeting, where commissioners unanimously passed a resolution supporting the foundation’s request to make the museum a reality at Jockey’s Ridge State Park and for the two entities to establish a lease agreement.

Harris was also joined by author Billy Vaughn, who is writing a book about the Rogallos. Vaughn offered a presentation to commissioners about the Rogallos, their invention and its impact on low-speed flight.

Harris noted that once the lease agreement is reached, a more robust campaign will begin to raise funds. Of the museum, he said that he hopes “it will inspire future generations to invent and create.”

For more information, or to donate, visit or attend the annual Brew Tag OBX, a celebration of flight and beer on Oct. 22 at the Soundside Event Center in Nags Head. All proceeds will benefit the Rogallo Foundation and the museum efforts.





ADVERTISEMENT FOR RE-BID: Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for the Kill Devil Hills – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-1) project on Wednesday, February 08, 2023 @ 2:00pm for the following packages:

BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 833 – Overhead Doors, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical

Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: Wednesday, February 08, 2023 at 2:00pm.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the training room and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare County – Kill Devil Hills EMS #01 / FS #14 – 2 PM Re-Bid Opening

Time: Feb 8, 2023 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 874 0991 8806

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  • Alf

    1st world problems…

    Saturday, Sep 17 @ 1:35 pm
  • George barnes

    The proposed Rogallo museum does not belong at Jockeys ridge. It is against the purpose of protecting the park and educating about why the park is here in its natural state. If kohl wants a museum they should build it on there property or at wright brothers monument where it would fit

    Tuesday, Sep 20 @ 3:12 pm