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Behind the Scenes

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Mon, April 5 2010

Spacesuit in need of repair

One of the things that makes being an educator here great is our teaching collection. I’m lucky, I work with a curatorial and collections staff that considers our needs as educators and provides the public with deaccessioned items they can touch and examine up close.   Our teaching collection currently contains real space food, shuttle tiles, bits of airplanes, meteorites, uniforms and other assorted items.  However, not all the items are real; our most popular replica is the shuttle era space suit.  The suit has been part of the Discovery Station Program for over ten years.  It was purchased with a grant from the Smithsonian Women’s Committee and is part of the Living and Working in Space Discovery Station, our most popular station, largely because of the suit.  The station gets an average of 40,000 visitors yearly, but that’s only a portion of the crowds the suit sees.  It has also become a key object used for family days, story times and school tours.

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Mock Space Shuttle Suit
Fri, March 26 2010

Going Mobile

The National Air and Space Museum is testing a new mobile website—the first at the Smithsonian!  Visitors carrying web-enabled smartphones can now access basic information about the Museum, daily events, exhibits and find objects on display through this new site formatted for mobile devices....

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Going Mobile
Fri, March 12 2010

Bag, Baggage and Archives

Pulling up stakes is always hard to do, especially if you’re packing up and moving a million plus documents, photographs, films, engineering drawings, tech manuals, and all the other treasures that make up the National Air and Space Museum's Archives Division. Starting in May, some of our reference and reproduction services will be suspended as we get ready for the move to our great new facilities at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Phase Two. Right now, these are the affected services and the dates on which they’ll be suspended:

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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center New Wing Construction
Tue, March 9 2010

Remembering Robert McCall

In my 30 years at the Museum, I have seen millions of visitors of every age and nationality pose to have their pictures taken in front of the huge astronaut figure in Bob McCall’s mural in the lobby. It makes me happy to think that his work is in photo albums around the globe, associated with fond vacation memories. I send my heartfelt condolences to Louise and the McCall family and thank them for my own fond memories of knowing Bob and Louise McCall.

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Robert McCall in front of A Cosmic View
Fri, February 26 2010

Diversity in Air and Space

Greetings, from the Astronomy Intern here at the National Air and Space Museum!  I will admit that despite being the Astronomy Intern, I am not a science person by background.  In fact, my experience is in world literature, history, and multicultural advocating.  So what am I doing here, you ask?

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African American Pioneers in Aviation History Family Day 2010
Thu, February 11 2010

Shuttle-Era Shopping Spree

Being snowbound at home for a long weekend presented a perfect opportunity to go shopping online – for Space Shuttle artifacts!

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Space shuttle Discovery approaches International Space Station. 
Fri, January 22 2010

The Saga of Lunar Landscape

For more than a decade it has been my privilege, among my other duties, to serve as curator of the National Air and Space Museum art collection. It comes as a surprise to many folks to realize that the Museum has an art collection. In fact, it includes over 4,700 works by artists with names like Daumier, Goya, Rauschenberg, Rockwell and Wyeth.

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Lunar Mural
Sat, December 5 2009

Hidden Gems

While hunting for images of navigators in World War II, a series appeared which, although completely distant from my topic, still grabbed my attention.  They were pictures of a military funeral.  These pictures were unique, however, because they were not showing the solemn burial of a soldier, airmen, or sailor; they were showing the burial of a unit mascot.

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Hedron 12 Funeral for Mascot "Skippy"
Sat, October 31 2009

Tricking and Treating in the Collection

Cecil “Teddy” Kenyon (1905-1985), on the left, and her husband Theodore "Ted" Whitman Kenyon (1899-1978) were a flying family – when they weren’t trick-or-treating, as this 1940s photograph from their collection in the Museum’s Archives Division shows.

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Teddy & Ted Kenyon in Halloween Costumes

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