Behind the Scenes

Showing 61 - 70 of 258
Sat, December 17 2016

Air Mailing It In: Rediscovery in the Archives

There are many ways to find information about the collections held by the National Air and Space Museum Archives. There are finding aids with box and folder listings for over 100 collections.  We are providing access to more and more of our scrapbooks  and photographs.  And while we archivists would like to believe that we know everything about everything in the National Air and Space Museum collections, the truth is, with over 17,000 cubic feet of documents, we are frequently discovering, or, should we say, rediscovering items in our collections.  The stories behind some of these finds are fascinating!

Read More about Air Mailing It In: Rediscovery in the Archives
1949 Around the World Air Mail Envelope Exhibit
Fri, December 16 2016

Interview with Record Breaker Alan Eustace

This week, we placed on display at our Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, the suit that Alan Eustace wore on his record-breaking freefall jump. Eustace jumped from an altitude of 41,419 meters (135,890 feet) in October 2014 to capture the world record—previously held by Felix Baumgartner. Eustace, former senior vice president of knowledge at Google, was on hand to see the unveiling of the new display. He kindly agreed to answer some of our questions.   

Read More about Interview with Record Breaker Alan Eustace
Alan Eustace Suit
Thu, December 8 2016

What Would an Alien Spaceship Look Like?

What would a spacecraft carrying aliens to first contact with Earth look like? In Arrival (2016), director Denis Villeneuve’s creative imagination of alien ships arriving at Earth, 12 large, dark, smooth, elongated ships hover effortlessly, without any visible means of propulsion, over far-flung sites on Earth. In response, in the United States, the military and the State Department engage linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to help communicate with the inhabitants. The spaceships themselves present an appearance as inscrutable as the aliens themselves initially are. When the team led by Colonel GT Weber (Forest Whitaker) enters one of them, the roughly textured surfaces of the exterior and walls suggest wear or aging but offer no specific clues about the interior, the ship’s inhabitants, or, most important, their intentions. The resulting narrative of first contact, adapted as a screenplay by Eric Heisserer from a short story by Ted Chiang, proves satisfying, offering a thoughtful consideration of language, communication, and meaning.

Read More about What Would an Alien Spaceship Look Like?
Mother Ship Model - Close Encounters of the Third Kind at Udvar-Hazy Ctr
Mon, December 5 2016

Exploring the History of our Chinese Kite Collection

In 1876, after the dust from the United States’ first World’s Fair and Centennial Exposition settled on the grounds of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institution’s collections expanded exponentially. Sixty boxcars filled with art, mechanical inventions, and other materials from many of the 37 countries who participated in the Exposition pulled into Washington, DC as gifts for a brand new museum.

Read More about Exploring the History of our Chinese Kite Collection
Original loan photograph
Sat, November 19 2016

Your Captions: And You Thought You Could Hide

We are at the end of our “Caption This” series. Throughout, you’ve been a tried and true caption contributor. Our last photo features a smiling woman, a clear globe, and some dramatic lighting

Read More about Your Captions: And You Thought You Could Hide
WWII Black and White Frame
Fri, November 11 2016

Stories of Service

Today is Veterans Day, a day in which we honor our veterans, past and present, for their service and sacrifice. One aspect of the Museum’s mission is to commemorate the past. Today, especially, we are doing that by telling the stories of our veterans. We have created a space—Stories of Service—where you can share your experiences as a veteran, or on behalf of the veteran in your life

Read More about Stories of Service
Volunteer Richard L. World War I
Wed, October 26 2016

From the Director: My Favorite Bob Hoover Story

Bob Hoover passed away yesterday, after a lifetime of adventures rivaling any work of fact or fiction. Bob was an aviation legend, a role-model to generations of pilots, a friend to this Museum, and a gentleman to all who knew him. With the rest of the aviation community, we mourn the passing of the man Jimmy Doolittle called “the greatest stick and rudder man who ever lived.” In the coming days, people all over the world will celebrate his life by trading their favorite Bob Hoover stories. My favorite Bob Hoover story goes like this...

Read More about From the Director: My Favorite Bob Hoover Story
Robert A. "Bob" Hoover and General J. R. Dailey
Fri, October 21 2016

Your Captions: Merrill and Princess Doreen

Last week we asked you to caption a number of intriguing images, and we promised to share more about each photo in the coming weeks. Let’s kick off with this ferociously furry snapshot.

Read More about Your Captions: Merrill and Princess Doreen
Henry Tyndall "Dick" Merrill and Princess Doreen
Thu, October 20 2016

Reports of UFOs: 1947 Roswell Incident

In this 2011 Ask an Expert talk, Dr. Roger Launius explores the 1947 Roswell Incident, an event that entangled the United States Army in UFO conspiracy theories that persist to this day.

Read More about Reports of UFOs: 1947 Roswell Incident
Roswell Daily Record
Wed, October 19 2016

Transforming Airport Towers

In the Museum’s exhibition Art of the Airport Tower, and companion book, dramatic stone and metal structures stretch out over muted skies speckled with clouds. Look closer. If you’re like photographer and museum specialist Carolyn Russo these photographs of airport towers reveal something else: Swiss cheese, birds, insects, and even top hats.

Read More about Transforming Airport Towers
LaGuardia Airport


Don't Miss Our Latest Stories Learn More