In addition to serving as the department chair, Dr. Margaret A. Weitekamp curates the Museum's social and cultural history of spaceflight collection, more than 5,000 artifacts that include space memorabilia and space science fiction objects. These everyday mementos of the space age—which include toys and games, medals and awards, buttons and pins, as well as comics and trading cards—complete the story about spaceflight told by the Museum's collection of space hardware and technologies.
She is the author of Space Craze: America’s Enduring Fascination with Real and Imagined Spaceflight (Smithsonian Books, 2022) as well as Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program, which won the Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature from the American Astronautical Society. With Matt Shindell, she expanded and revised the second edition of Spaceships: An Illustrated History of the Real and the Imagined (Smithsonian Books, 2022). In addition, she wrote an award-winning children’s picture book Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2013), in collaboration with David DeVorkin and illustrated by Diane Kidd. She is currently working on a new project about 21st Century renovations of science and technology museums.
Weitekamp earned a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA and PhD in history from Cornell University. During her graduate work, she was a Mellon fellow in the humanities and spent a year in residence at the NASA Headquarters History Office in Washington, D.C. as the American Historical Association / NASA Aerospace History Fellow. Before joining the Smithsonian, Weitekamp taught in the Women's Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.