Since its opening, and until recent years, our Zeiss Model VIa optical planetarium projector has brought the wonder of the night sky to countless visitors. The Zeiss Company no longer services the over 40 year-old model, and though its stars are as sharp as ever, and its skies deep in their dramatic blackness, its celestial motors have become weary, so it has been retired in favor of an ever-improving digital projection system that offers many advantages to meet modern programming needs. The Albert Einstein Planetarium theater itself is also closing as our multi-year renovation progresses through the Museum, but it will eventually reopen as a fully digital experience. Now that we are saying good-bye to its original projector, the Zeiss Model VIa, the question is, of course, how did it get here
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.
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.
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.