Popular Culture

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Fri, July 31 2015

Were You a Member of the “First Moon Flights” Club?

The Smithsonian would like to add to its national collection a Pan American Airways (Pan Am) “First Moon Flights” Club card as an example of early enthusiasm for space travel.

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Fri, June 5 2015

Star Trek Considered Harmful

When the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall opens in the summer of 2016, one of its central artifacts will be the Star Trek starship Enterprise studio model, used to film the original television series. As a member of the curatorial team that has been working on this exciting revision of the Milestones Hall, I have been immersed in the culture and lore of that artifact, as I have sought to place it in the context of the Lunar Module, Spirit of St Louis, Bell X-1, and other iconic artifacts that will populate the space. What follows are some observations.  

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Star Trek Considered Harmful

Wed, May 27 2015

Finding Treasures in the Arthur C. Clarke Collection

Earlier this month, I wrote about some of the behind-the-scenes work it took to survey and pack the Arthur C. Clarke Collection for transfer to the National Air and Space Museum. In this post, I wanted to highlight the types of material that make up this wonderful collection. These were all found during my cursory survey of the material; who knows what wonderful items we will uncover as we start the in-depth processing!

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Thu, April 23 2015

Inside the Enterprise Studio Model

As the Museum is assessing the 11-foot studio model of the Star Trek starship Enterprise, we’re trying to provide occasional updates to the many fans of this iconic artifact of American culture.

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Wed, April 1 2015

Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet Now on Display

“Oh Lordy, I don’t know if we can loan that object or not, it is exceptionally rare! High maintenance, too.” -- Dan Hagedorn, curator and director of collections of The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.

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Thu, March 5 2015

Celebrating "Star Trek," Remembering Nimoy

News of Lenoard Nimoy’s passing was felt far and wide at the National Air and Space Museum. It may come as no surprise that many members of our staff—the same folks who have dedicated their careers to inspiring and educating the public about aerospace history—are also huge Star Trek fans. As we remember Nimoy’s legacy, we can’t help but recall our own experiences meeting the man and celebrating the series. In 1992, the Museum opened a temporary exhibition on Star Trek and cast and crew of the beloved show descended upon the Museum throughout its run. Two staff members, past and present, reflect on that experience.  

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Fri, February 13 2015

Scoffing at Superstition

Friday the Thirteenth always puts me in the mood to listen to Stevie Wonder's hit, “Superstition.” Although I’m not particularly superstitious, I’m probably not going to take chances like a group of aviation cadets did at the Air Corps Training Detachment, Hawthorne School of Aeronautics, Orangeburg, South Carolina, in February of 1942.

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Tue, December 30 2014

Advising on the Star Trek Starship Enterprise

Who do you call when you need to know everything there is to know about the Star Trek starship Enterprise? As the curator for that artifact—the original 11-foot model used in filming the Star Trek television program that aired from 1966 until 1969—I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and learning about Star Trek. The Museum has a lot of source material to rely upon: the acquisition, restoration, and exhibit record for this artifact stands at more than 1000 pages (and growing). In fact, I hired an intern two summers ago just to create a comprehensive index for that record so that I could know, for certain, whether I had checked every relevant document in it when searching for an answer. That review of the Museum’s records was a part of the move of the model that I have been planning for several years.  

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Mon, December 22 2014

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

Washington, DC, always awaits its first real snow day with anticipation and trepidation. I was curious what the National Air and Space Museum collections had in the way of snow activities.

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Fri, October 31 2014

Look Out for Black Cats on Halloween!

What do you get when you combine triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13), melanophobia (fear of the color black), and ailurophobia (fear of cats)?

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