Wright Brothers National Memorial

Darrell Collins is a native of the North Carolina’s Outer Banks and resides in Manteo, on Roanoke Island.  Graduated from Manteo High School in 1973.  He is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina and holds a B. S. degree in Geology, Minor in History.

He has worked with the National Park Service in the division of interpretation and education for 32 years, spending the majority of his time at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where he serves as the Historian. He served with the NASA is a series of educational programs promoting aviation and the Wright brothers to young children.  In 1990 was nominated as the National Park Service top Interpretative Ranger for the Freeman Tilden Award.  In 1999 was nominated by the Department of the Interior to represent the National Park Service for the “Park Ranger Tour Program”, an outreach program for children in major U. S. cities.

For the past twenty-three years he has been on the aviation/ aerospace lecture circuit.  Pervious speaking engagements include the Aero Club of Washington’s Wright Memorial Dinner, National Air Transportation 50th Anniversary, Aerospace Industries of America, Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association.   He is a regular speaker at the Speakers’ Showcase Series at the Oshkosh Fly-In Convention. Australian International Airshow DownUnder and many other aviation/ aerospace oriented groups and events.  Darrell Collins ranks in the top 5 historians in the world on early aviation and the Wright brothers. He is the author on numerous articles and consulting editor for play writes and authors on early aviation and the Wright brothers. He is a member of the Heaven Creek Baptist Church in Manteo, Past Vice Chairperson of the Town of Manteo Planning and Zoning Board, Past Board of Directors of the Outer Banks History Center Associates, Honorary member of the Virginia Historical Aviation Society and a Paul Harris Fellow presented by Rotary International. Now is an elected Commissioner for the Town of Manteo.   In 2003 the Governor awarded him the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” the highest civilian recognition given by the State of North Carolina for his outstanding and dedicated service to Wright Brothers National Memorial.  Also in 2003, the National Aeronautic Association presented him with an International award, the Paul Tissandier Diploma for his career of service to aeronautics and airports.

His Uncle Herbert Collins was the last commanding officer of the only all black Pea Island Coast Guard Station on the Outer Banks of North Carolina before it was decommissioned in 1947.  Darrell is now the Chairman of the Pea Island Preservation Association.   His father Frank M. Collins served 16 years in the U. S. Coast Guard before he was killed in the last major hurricane that swept the Outer Banks in 1960. The family has lived of the Outer Banks of North Carolina for 149 years. His mother Dellerva E. Collins served over 26 years as a Commissioner of the Town of Manteo.  His grandmother, Edna May Wise parents where members of the black Freedmen Colony that settled on Roanoke Island in 1862 during the Civil War.

He has a wife Tonya and two sons; Darius Collins age 32 and Frank Collins age 31 and grandson Barkley Collins age 2.  His hobbies include traveling, reading, basketball, gardening, fishing, and coaching 10-12 year old boy’s basketball.