The National Air and Space Museum is full of ideas that defy. Ideas that defy any obstacle, ideas that defy our expectations, ideas that literally defy gravity. Follow us as we discover the remarkable, the audacious, the outrageous, the #IdeasThatDefy.
Next year, the National Air and Space Museum will begin restoring and preserving aircraft in the brand-new Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, part of the Phase Two complex now under construction at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. To treat the aircraft, the Museum applies a philosophy and range of techniques that have steadily evolved through the years.
Looking at the seemingly endless aisles of crates at the Paul E. Garber Restoration and Storage Facility, it is not a great stretch of the imagination to picture Indiana Jones scouring these narrow labyrinths for that anonymous wooden crate housing the notorious Ark.
The staff at the National Air and Space Museum are gearing up for the annual Mars Day!, a celebration of the Red Planet. On July 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors at the Museum can partake of a variety of educational and family fun activities throughout the galleries.
Several months ago, according to statistics that measure the public’s access to the museum’s collections via our web site, the one artifact on exhibit at the Udvar-Hazy Center that our online users visited the most was….the Massively Parallel Processor.
National Air and Space Museum staff contribute to many larger Smithsonian efforts during any given year. For example, this year the Smithsonian Folklife Festival staff came calling. The 2010 Festival running June 24-28 and July 1-5, features the “culture” of the Smithsonian.
Many visitors express the wish to see the interiors of aircraft and spacecraft on display in the Museum. But to protect these historic treasures, they must be displayed behind barriers, which makes it impossible to see inside. But there are several cockpits you can see in the Museum, a day devoted to getting up close with aircraft, some cool electronic views, and a couple of great books that give those who are curious some excellent interior views.
The notation in the Museum’s artifact database is simple: “On loan.” But this artifact is a replica Nobel Prize. And its loan involves two government agencies, a crushed storage building, and a flight to the International Space Station. Let’s start at the beginning – literally. As in the Big Bang.
I teach an exhibition design course as an adjunct professor for the George Washington University’s Museum Studies program. I tell my students I’ve got the best job in the world: designing exhibitions for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. They often ask what you need to know to be an exhibit designer and how they can get there, too.