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Behind the Scenes

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Wed, December 20 2017

Top Five Stories of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, let’s revisit some of our favorite stories of the year: stories of solar eclipses, scientific women, the Spitfire, and spacecraft.

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Solar Eclipse
Wed, December 13 2017

Light Speed Delivery: The Smithsonian’s R2-D2 Mailbox

On display in a galaxy not so far, far away: the National Postal Museum's R2-D2 mailbox, currently on view at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

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The R2-D2 mailbox on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Fri, November 3 2017

"Kiss Me Darling:" Conserving the Rituals of Dating and Dancing

The Clouds in a Bag exhibit at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, displays many early renditions of ballooning, including a 18th-19th century dance box. Take a look at the conservation process behind this charming object. 

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Lauren Gottschlich, Engen Conservation Fellow, inpainting the losses on the lid with watercolor paints.
Thu, November 2 2017

The Unknown History of the Curtiss P-40E Lope's Hope

How a single e-mail helped uncover the previously unknown history of the Museum's Curtiss P-40E Lope’s Hope.

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Flight Lieutenant Robert W. Lynch, Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 111F
Fri, October 27 2017

Record-Breaking Rocket Sled Created Modern Safety Standards

On a clear December day in 1954, Colonel John Stapp strapped in for a ride on the Sonic Wind No. 1, a rocket sled, breaking speed records and researching safety standards in the process. The story of Stapp's rocket sled will be part of the upcoming Nation of Speed exhibition.

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Rocket Sled, Sonic Wind I
Thu, October 26 2017

Humanitarian Aviation Reaching Communities in Need

When many people think about aviation, a few things come to mind: the military, commercial airline flights, or shipping cargo. What they don’t often think of is a literal surgery room with wings—one of the stories featured in the new Thomas W. Haas We All Fly exhibition as part of the reimagining of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

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We All Fly
Tue, October 24 2017

Ready for Lift-Off: Reimagining Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

We are reimagining the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. Here's what you need to know and how you can stay connected to all the ways that we're changing.

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Exploring the Planets
Sat, October 14 2017

See Columbia in Your City or At Home

Today, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia will go on display at Space Center Houston, the first of four stops in the national tour Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. This is the first time the Command Module has left the nation’s capital since 1971. If you plan to see the Module in your city—the tour will travel to St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Seattle over the next two years—we have an excellent way to prepare. Or if you’re looking to dive into Apollo history on the comfort of your own couch, we also have you covered.

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See Columbia in Your City or At Home

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Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia
Fri, October 13 2017

How a "Flying Pickup Truck" Survived Pearl Harbor

The historic importance of the Sikorsky JRS-1—a weathered blue-gray airplane now on display at our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia—is not because of the type of airplane it is. Its importance lies in one of the places the JRS-1 has been and survived: Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

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Sikorsky JRS-1
Mon, October 2 2017

Join us for #AskAnArchivist on Twitter

Send questions to archivists from the National Air and Space Museum Archives on Twitter this October 4, during #AskAnArchivist!

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Archivists place large format drawings in customized folders and storage cabinets.

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