Behind the Scenes

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Tue, November 24 2015

Seven Tips for Visiting the Museum During the Holidays

We’re gearing up for one of our busiest times of the year—the holidays! Our team of Visitor Services staff love to talk to visitors during this time. We enjoy learning where you’re visiting from and what made you add our Museum to your already impressively full itinerary. You can find us at the Welcome Center in blue vests, eager to hear your stories.

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Welcome Center
Thu, November 19 2015

From the Archives: A Company Thanksgiving

Many families have their own Thanksgiving traditions that they faithfully recreate each November—Grandma’s stuffing, Aunt Jean’s serving platter, homemade cranberry sauce, or an insistence upon the canned sauce with ridges. After the meal, it may be nap time or football time. But the most common tradition is cooking and eating a big, fat Thanksgiving turkey. The collections in the National Air and Space Museum Archives provide a cornucopia of images and information on the history of aviation and spaceflight, some with moments of Thanksgiving cheer.

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Unloading Turkeys from Truck
Mon, November 2 2015

Explainers Program Expands Students’ Experience

A few weeks ago we made a huge announcement that our Explainers Program would be expanding. The exciting news made us ponder: What does it mean to be an Explainer? So we sat down with two of them to find out.

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Explainer Demonstrates EMU Spacesuit
Tue, September 29 2015

#AskAnArchivist on Twitter Kicks Off American Archives Month

American Archives Month kicks off in September with Ask An Archivist Day on Twitter. In preparation, our archivistsanswered some serious (and not so serious) questions. Discover how they became archivists, how they work with our staff, and what songs would be on the National Air and Space Museum Archives soundtrack if one existed.

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Examining an Engineering Drawing
Mon, September 21 2015

A Challenging Space at Air and Space

If you visit the museum and step into the "Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall," you are in one of the most difficult spaces of the museum for our designers. There are many challenges faced by the design team in planning the hall's layout and contents. 

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 Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall
Fri, September 11 2015

Building a Spacesuit out of Spare Parts

I never would have guessed I’d spend the summer building a spacesuit. It isn’t exactly your typical internship. But with a lot of “spare” parts generously donated to the Museum by the manufacturer, ILC Dover, there’s a spacesuit just begging to be assembled. I spent weeks figuring out how to put this suit together, and with more than 400 parts in the collection, it’s not as simple as you might think.

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Construction of the ISS
Tue, September 8 2015

We’re Sending the USS Enterprise Back in Time

You can help. Conservators at the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory are working to restore the original, 11-foot studio model of the USS Enterprise, used in all 79 episodes of the television series Star Trek, to its appearance from August of 1967. We are looking for first-hand, primary source photos or film of the ship’s early years. Images of the model during production or on public display anytime between 1964 and 1976 will help conservators determine the model’s exact configuration at different stages of its journey.

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Starship "Enterprise" Model in 1987
Tue, August 25 2015

SpaceShipOne Folds Its Wing

For the past decade, SpaceShipOne has been on display as one of the hanging artifacts in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. It was specifically positioned to depict the aircraft in its initial stage of powered flight (30 degrees, nose up attitude) just after release from its White Knight mother ship, which carried it aloft to an altitude of about 14,326 meters (47,000 feet). In March of this year, SpaceShipOne was lowered to the floor as part of a major renovation of the Milestones gallery. During this time, it received a thorough condition assessment and photo documentation by conservator Sharon Norquest. After surface cleaning and minor conservation work is completed, it is scheduled to be rehung this week and will be one of the major artifacts in the new Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, scheduled to open in July 2016. The renovation project provided us with a unique opportunity to consider how we showcase SpaceShipOne in the future.

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Fri, August 7 2015

How do you put on an Apollo spacesuit?

First, let’s talk about terminology. When we talk about putting on or taking off a spacesuit, we frequently use the terms “donning and doffing.”

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Armstrong's Pre-Flight Spacesuit
Tue, August 4 2015

Nerd Camp

The door was locked, but a swipe of a security access card rewarded us with a satisfying “click.” Someone pushed the double doors open and we stepped into the laboratory. We paused for the briefest instant as my eyes, and those of my fellow campers, were transfixed on the object on the other side of the room: The Starship Enterprise from the original Star Trek series.

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Team Enterprise