Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Collections

Conservation/Preservation

Grants. The National Air and Space Museum was awarded three grants from the Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF) in 2010. The CCPF provides strategic funding for the highest priority collections management needs across the Institution.

The first grant supports the survey and preventive conservation of the Museum's small artifact collection. Approximately 8,000 objects are involved. This project will also enhance the collections database records, which is used by staff members, researchers, volunteers, and the general public. 

The second grant funds the cataloging, re-housing, and preservation of the vintage aircraft tools collection. These specially designed and manufactured tools serve a functional role and are also artifacts themselves.

The third grant went to the Archives Division to support the re-housing and cataloguing of the Curtiss-Wright glass plate negative collection. This group of approximately 6,400 photographic glass plate negatives records an important period of time in the history of one of the most influential early American aircraft companies, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company. The plates are being packed in special cushioned boxes in preparation for the move to the new facilities at the Udvar-Hazy Center. 

Finally, the Collections Division received two internal Smithsonian grants, one that allowed the Museum to inventory all objects on display in the National Mall building, and a second that assisted with the Museum's efforts to photo document artifacts in preparation for the move to the Udvar-Hazy Center.

Space Shuttle Enterprise. A technical team from NASA's shuttle operations contractor United Space Alliance at Kennedy Space Center inspected Enterprise at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Enterprise remains an object of great interest to NASA as a reference vehicle for studying how materials age. Corrosion was the latest topic for attention. Technicians used various devices to probe deep into the vehicle's structure to ascertain the integrity of the airframe. Studying Enterprise, the oldest shuttle, continues to give insights applicable to the newer orbiters in the fleet.

Photo: Specialists working under a Collections Care and Preservation Fund grant conduct conservation assessment surveys on small objects from the Museum's collection at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland.