D.B. Cooper exhibition heads to Washington history museum


Becoming perhaps the first airplane hijacker to merit in-depth attention from a museum, D.B. Cooper will be the subject of an exhibition opening in August at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

Something of a folk hero along the lines of fellow outlaws Jesse James and Billy the Kid, D.B. Cooper hijacked a plane flying to Seattle out of Portland International Airport on Nov. 24, 1971, and later parachuted away with $200,000 in ransom money, never to be seen again.

Some believe Cooper perished in his escape efforts, but the rest of his story remains a mystery. Even his name was adopted from folklore, considering all that’s ultimately known of the man is the alias he gave at the airline counter, which was Dan Cooper.


Still, the museum has reportedly assembled a number of artifacts, including a Boeing 727 (the same type of plane Cooper parachuted from) and some of the $20 bills found along the Columbia river in 1980 that were recognized as part of Cooper’s ransom money. Not included are the FBI files, which are still sealed since the case remains an ongoing investigation.

Museum staff are reportedly still working to add more to the exhibit, and parts of it will also examine changes to flight security that were implemented as a result of Cooper’s crime.

“We’re looking for ways to engage with our audience, and more nontraditional and recent history exhibits can do that,” Jennifer Kilmer, the director of the Washington State Historical Society, told the Daily News of Longview, Wash. “It’s another way to connect people to their history.”


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