Behind the Scenes
"Hey Mom, Isn't that Uncle Dave?"
In the face of ever-present budget restraints, National Air and Space Museum exhibit designers try to make use of resources already at hand, including human resources. For instance, if an employee anywhere in the building has a certain talent or ability obtained as a hobby or in a previous job, it's a sure bet he or she will be drafted into service if that skill is needed.
Employees are, of course, always happy to oblige, especially in cases where their faces will be immortalized for decades to come.
An Employee Gets Plastered, so to Speak
For the America by Air gallery, Museum security officer Darryl King spent a day at the Smithsonian's Office of Exhibits Central, where he had his face, hands, and ears cast in plaster for a 3-D figure.
Darryl's three dimensional plaster figure will become a Transportation Security Administration officer inspecting a suitcase. It will be situated under the 747 nose, near the family group photos featured in this article.
Taking a mold is a multi-step process. The face or other body part is covered in a flexible material called moulage that captures great detail. This is usually applied with a brush. Then a technician places plaster bandages over the moulage to make the mold rigid. The mold is then carefully removed, and plaster is poured into the mold to make the positive face casting.
Numerous other employees and their children posed as "typical" travelers to represent scenes for "Then" and "Now" comparisons of commercial travel.
Then and Now Employees