2 - The National Air and Space Museum opens its Independence
Avenue lobby to "sidewalk superintendents,"
who watch the installation of artifacts in the Milestones
of Flight gallery.
1 - The official ribbon cutting, opening the doors of
the new National Air and Space Museum, begins with a
signal sent from the Viking 1 spacecraft approaching
Mars. Relayed from space to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
in Pasadena, California, then via ground lines to National Air and Space Museum
where it activates a mechanical "arm" identical
to that on the Viking 1. As the arm retracts there is
a puff of smoke, the ribbon is severed, and the Museum's
doors open to the public. President Gerald Ford calls
the Museum, "a perfect birthday present" to
the nation during its Bicentennial year. The president
is joined on the podium by Vice President Nelson Rockefeller,
Chief Justice Warren Burger, Smithsonian Secretary S.
Dillon Ripley and Michael Collins, director
of the Museum. "To Fly," the Museum's first
large-format film, premieres. By August 18,
Museum welcomes its 2-millionth visitor.