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Behind the Scenes

Showing 241 - 250 of 297
Fri, July 1 2011

35 Years at the National Air and Space Museum

Dominick Pisano, Museum staff member since 1975, shares his memories of the move to the current Museum and the work that went into transporting the entire library. 

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Fri, June 24 2011

Preserving and Displaying the “Bat-Wing Ship”

Early in June, staff of the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility slowly and carefully moved the center section of the Horten H IX V3 all-wing jet fighter from storage into the restoration and preservation shop. 

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Tue, June 14 2011

The Perils of Paper Airplanes

When I trained to be an Explainer, I learned the basics: daily activities, expectations, etc. What I didn’t learn, however, was all the job hazards. Interacting with visitors and doing demonstrations sound pretty safe, right?... Not quite.

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Mon, June 6 2011

Getting "Enterprise" Ready for Prime Time

Early on the morning of March 1, 2004, a small band of preservation specialists consisting of Anne McCombs, Steve Kautner, and Ed Mautner walked into the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. ...

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Fri, May 27 2011

Another Journey for John Glenn’s Ansco Camera

Nearly 50 years ago, John Glenn purchased a camera at a drug store that served as the first astronomical experiment performed by a human in space. That three-orbit voyage for Glenn included two cameras, one the Ansco he purchased and the other a Leica supplied by NASA. The flight not only kicked off decades of orbital experiences for U.S. astronauts, but also science experiments, observations, and thousands of rolls of film and digital files created through hand-held photography. The results of those experiments and the photos taken are what people left on Earth use even today to understand human spaceflight.

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Tue, May 10 2011

Hosting America's Best Teachers

Last week the Smithsonian Institution hosted the state Teachers of the Year, who were in town for their annual visit to the White House.

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Fri, May 6 2011

Bill Chases the Hindenburg

May 6th marks the anniversary of the tragic end of the airship Hindenburg, destroyed by fire as it came in for a landing at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, New Jersey, in 1937. Last year, to commemorate the anniversary, we posted the story of Anne "Cookie" Chotzinoff Grossman, who, on October 9th, 1936, spotted the Hindenburg in flight from her Connecticut schoolyard. She took off in hot pursuit along with her brother Blair, but the giant airship got away from them; Cookie and Blair trudged back to school, and Cookie was made to write “I will not follow the Hindenburg” on the blackboard a hundred times.

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Wed, March 9 2011

The Last Sikorsky JRS-1 Makes A Move to the Udvar-Hazy Center

On December 7, 1941, a US Navy squadron consisting of ten Sikorsky JRS-1 amphibious seaplanes was on station in the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after the Japanese attack that Sunday morning, the planes were launched in an effort to locate enemy submarines and ships near Oahu. 

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Thu, February 17 2011

Asking the Experts

How did you get an airplane inside the building?  Is there life on other planets?  What EXACTLY is GPS and how does it work?  Why in the world is that in this museum? We hear these questions every day.  There’s so much that goes on in museums that people just don’t understand.  And there are a lot of interesting artifacts tucked into smaller galleries that visitors simply don’t notice.  Then there are the GREAT stories behind every artifact – stories that just don’t fit on a label. 

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Fri, January 14 2011

A Curator’s Preamble to a Move

Sixty-two suits.  Toni Thomas and I came up with that number after several days counting spacesuits and flight suits on stepladders in the Environmental Storage Room, Building 24 (ESRB24) at the Paul E. Garber Facility.  These were the pressure suits in the National Air and Space Museum spacesuit collection that still needed soft, conservation-correct storage mannequins.  That was June 2009.  Amanda Young had just retired after the successful publication of her and Mark Avino’s book Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection. The book culminated fifteen years of hard labor on her part to document, reorganize and standardize the preservation, storage and exhibit conditions for the Museum's spacesuit collection. 

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