Samuel Pierpont Langley was an American astronomer and physicist who competed early on with the Wright brothers in the race for flight. Langley being a credentialed scientist beat out the Wright brothers for an important military contract designed to develop a usable airplane. Langley used the U.S. military seed money to build an "airplane" called the Aerodrome which crashed every time it flew. It was launched on the cliffs of Virginia overlooking the Potomac river, which was lucky for the pilot because that's where he ended up on each of the "flights". My question is, what is so special about this failed never flew scientist / airplane that it hangs today prominently in the Smithsonian Air and Space museum? (Dulles annex). There was a long period in the 1960's and 70's when the Aerodrome hung in the DC location and the Wright Flyer was not displayed. What gives?
Sam Langley was the secretary of the Smithsonian institution for 19 years. As you point out, this institution includes the Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian wanted "their guy" to be recognized as the father of aviation because it would be very prestigious.