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Behind the Scenes

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Fri, July 31 2015

Were You a Member of the “First Moon Flights” Club?

The Smithsonian would like to add to its national collection a Pan American Airways (Pan Am) “First Moon Flights” Club card as an example of early enthusiasm for space travel.

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Were You a Member of the “First Moon Flights” Club?
Wed, July 29 2015

Houston We Don’t Have a Problem: #RebootTheSuit is Funded, Now What?

The Smithsonian’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit was fully backed in just five days!

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Examining Armstrong's Apollo 11 Boots
Sat, July 25 2015

A Triage Treatment for Apollo Biomedical Sensors

Much like medical triage, conservation triage analyzes the risk posed to an object and the hazards associated with not taking immediate action. Triage conservators ask questions such as: Can the object be handled safely by staff and researchers? Will the degradation of the object continue if it is not treated immediately? What treatment can we do, with the resources at hand, to keep this object stable as long as possible?

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Applying Acrylic Resin
Mon, July 20 2015

Reboot the Suit: Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit and Kickstarter

Today is a rather big day for the Museum. Not only are we celebrating the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, but we are also celebrating the launch of something quite new.

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Detail of Armstrong's Suit
Thu, June 25 2015

The NACA/NASA Full Scale Wind Tunnel

The Scene: A new wind tunnel, the NACA Full Scale Tunnel at the NACA Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, Hampton, Virginia The Time: May 27, 1931 The Action: A Navy Vought O3U-1 “Corsair II” –the whole airplane—is mounted in the wind tunnel.

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Technician Checks Fan Motor in Full Scale Wind Tunnel
Wed, May 27 2015

Finding Treasures in the Arthur C. Clarke Collection

Earlier this month, I wrote about some of the behind-the-scenes work it took to survey and pack the Arthur C. Clarke Collection for transfer to the National Air and Space Museum. In this post, I wanted to highlight the types of material that make up this wonderful collection. These were all found during my cursory survey of the material; who knows what wonderful items we will uncover as we start the in-depth processing!

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Arthur C. Clarke with Aleksei Leonov
Mon, April 20 2015

Arthur C. Clarke’s Personal Papers Arrive at the Museum

For the last several years, we worked with the Arthur C. Clarke Trust to have the author’s papers donated to the Museum. One challenging factor was that the Trust and his papers sat in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Clarke’s home for most of his adult life. Legal and logistical issues abounded. But in Summer 2014, we reached a legal agreement. At the same time, we were fortunate to gain the support of FedEx to help us get Clarke’s collection safely from Sri Lanka to the U.S. In December, my colleague Patti Williams and I traveled to Colombo, welcomed by longtime Clarke associates Rohan de Silva and Hector Ekanayake. We assessed and boxed the collection, and with much help from FedEx’s world-wide team and transportation network, transferred Clarke’s life’s work to its new home in the Museum archives. It is now being conserved and processed, perhaps ready for use by researchers later this fall.

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Arthur C. Clarke Through the Years
Fri, April 3 2015

Fans of the National Air and Space Museum

Eighteenth century ladies fans are not something visitors normally expect to encounter in the National Air and Space Museum. Nevertheless, we have them! The Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection, acquired in 2014 thanks to the generosity of the Norfolk Charitable Trust, includes over 1,000 works of art, prints, posters, objects, manuscripts, and books documenting the history of flight from the first balloon ascensions in 1783 through the early years of the twentieth century.

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Decorative Fan from the Kendall Collection
Wed, April 1 2015

Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet Now on Display

“Oh Lordy, I don’t know if we can loan that object or not, it is exceptionally rare! High maintenance, too.” -- Dan Hagedorn, curator and director of collections of The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.

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Installing the Invisible Jet
Tue, March 31 2015

And Then the Curator Asks, “What’s a Tumblr?”

One subtheme of the Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extravehicular Activity exhibition is the connection between the photography of spacewalking and art. We even hosted a special event in February featuring the photographer Michael Soluri and spacewalker John Grunsfeld to talk about how those two expressive visual methods came together during the STS-125 servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

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And Then the Curator Asks, “What’s a Tumblr?”

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