Dr. Thor Heyerdahl (Deceased) (1986)
Award Presented at the National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Thor Heyerdahl, famed anthropologist and explorer, is best known for his transoceanic and other voyages in replicas of early sailing craft to test his theories of the spread of early peoples and cultures. In 1947, he led a small crew on the primitive balsa wood raft "Kon-Tiki" 4,300 miles from Peru to Polynesia, showing the possibility that the Polynesians may have originally come from South America rather than southeast Asia. Heyerdahl also organized the "Ra" and "Tigris" expeditions, again involving two of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's major interests -- exploration and the study of ancient peoples.