Operating out of the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, the Preservation and Restoration Unit is responsible for the highly specialized restoration and maintenance work necessary to preserve, restore, and display the collection of aviation and space artifacts.
While each project is evaluated to determine the appropriate balance of preservative or restorative effort, the Preservation and Restoration Unit accomplishes this through a blend of period-correct techniques and tools, and modern Computer Aided Design (CAD)/ Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) capabilities. From traditional wood and leatherwork to 3D scanners, waterjets, and a CNC break machine, the Preservation and Restoration Unit has the technology and personnel necessary to replicate or repair nearly anything that may be required. Project scopes can vary from structural repairs in wood and metal, fully repainting and stenciling aircraft of various nationalities, and re-activating systems used by the air or space craft while in operation to obtain display aesthetics if deemed necessary for display narratives.
Once an artifact has been treated it must be prepared for either ground or suspended display. Ground displays require the design and fabrication of specialized equipment to ensure the safe support of each artifact. This can be as simple as strut collars to prevent landing gear from collapsing, or as complicated as specialized stands and carts. Similarly, preparation for suspended display requires design, fabrication, and installation of custom rigging fixtures, specially designed to connect with the structure of the air and space artifacts. A careful balance must be achieved between artifact security, public safety, and display aesthetics.
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