The Wrights refused to let the Smithsonian have it!
So it hung in the South Kensington Science Museum, in London, where it inspired a young man named Nevil Norway, who became one of the world's foremost aeronautical engineers in the 1920s and '30s ― but was better known as the novelist, Nevil Shute.
As a result of the quid-pro-quo to finally bring the Flyer home, Alberto Santos-Dumont, a household name and hero in Latin America, is almost unknown in the USA.
What's obscure about it?
Because of the Langley-Curtis shenanigans, the Smithsonian, to get the Flyer, had to essentially agree to a "gag order" relating to other claimants to first flight, and US educational institutions have followed suit.
Hence, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who holds the FAI record (meaning he did it in Paris in front of judges) for first powered controlled heavier-than-air flight is virtually never mentioned in the USA. In Brazil he's a national hero.
@publius @2ck Santos-Dumont was absolutely an important figure in the early days of aviation. I didn't mean to slight him by not mentioning him. The thread was just primarily about the disposition of the Wrights' 1903 Flyer, so I didn't want to wander too far away from that topic.
All that being said, the flights he made before the Wright brothers' 1903 flight were in lighter-than-air craft (such as his airship N-5, here shown circling the Eiffel Tower in 1901). He did not turn to heavier-than-air flight until 1905.
This website dedicated to the history of the Wright brothers offers as a counterpoint a letter from a Brazilian arguing the case for Santos-Dumont, and gives what I think is a fair evaluation of it: https://www.wright-brothers.org/History_Wing/History_of_the_Airplane/Who_Was_First/Santos_Dumont/Santos_Dumont.htm
Regardless of who went first, both the Wrights and Santos-Dumont were key contributors to the science of aviation. They all deserve to be remembered.
"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko