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Behind the Scenes

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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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2011 Teachers of the Year
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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Bill Eaton
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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Sikorsky JRS-1 Transferred to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
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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Gene Kranz
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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Wernher von Braun
Tue, January 11 2011

5 Cool Things at the Udvar-Hazy Center You May Have Missed

Check out these must-see aircraft and space objects during your next (or first) visit to the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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Manned Maneuvering Unit
Mon, December 20 2010

Welcoming our littlest visitors to the Air and Space Museum

I was recently inspired by a fellow Smithsonian educator’s blog post at the National Museum of American History. Megan’s tips for bringing young children to the museum were so helpful that I wanted to join in the conversation with tips for bringing young children to the National Air and Space Museum.

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Story Time
Wed, December 15 2010

Under the Lime-Green Leisure Suit

Getting ready to move gives you a chance to pull all those old boxes out from the back corners of your closets.  You know what's in them - like that box with Uncle Bob's 1970s lime-green polyester leisure suit - but it's always good to double check these things.  It's no different when you're preparing to move an archival collection. 

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Archives - Microfilm
Wed, November 24 2010

First Aircraft Moves Into Udvar-Hazy Center Restoration Hangar

This week, the Museum moved its first aircraft into the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hanger in the new wing of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The aircraft is the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, the same type of aircraft flown by former Museum director, Don Engen during World War II.

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Staff Move Helldiver into Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar
Fri, November 12 2010

A Blending of Photography and X-Ray

Curators at the Air and Space Museum are learning how to combine x-rays and photographs of object to gain a glimpse into their preservation and history. 

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Apollo EVA Boot

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