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Popular Culture

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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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Aviation Cadets Scoff at Superstition
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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Moving the Star Trek starship Enterprise Studio Model
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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Gatchina Military Flying School Cadet
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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Arthur C. "Art" Goebel
Fri, October 24 2014

Air & Scare: Better Together

Did you know that staff at the National Air and Space Museum enjoy dressing up for the annual Halloween event, Air and Scare, just as much as our visitors? The event, which will kick off tomorrow at 2:00 pm (ET) at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, will bring out lots of superheroes, Star Wars characters, princesses, pumpkins, and many more. It also brings out a creative side in the Museum’s Visitor Services staff, who have teamed up over the years with group costume themes.

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Air and Scare 2014
Fri, September 12 2014

Moving the Star Trek Starship Enterprise Studio Model

On September 11, 2014, the studio model of the Star Trek starship Enterprise, which has been on public display at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum since 1976, was removed for conservation in preparation for its new display location in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, which will open in July 2016. The announcement of the artifact’s inclusion in the transformed Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall was made on April 3, 2014.

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Moving the Star Trek starship Enterprise Studio Model
Thu, July 3 2014

Monumental Views

Every Fourth of July, visitors and locals alike crowd the National Mall to watch the fireworks show with the Washington Monument as one of its focal points. The monument reopened to the public in May 2014 as the last vestiges of scaffolding were removed from it, a visible reminder of the damage caused by a 2011 earthquake. Every year, thousands of visitors photograph themselves on the National Mall with the monument in the background. It is no surprise that it is popular in aviation photography as well.

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Lincoln Beachey Circles the Washington Monument
Fri, March 28 2014

In the Batter's Box

After a long, cold winter on the East Coast, spring is finally here and a new baseball season is about to start! Many teams have military nights, in which they invite active duty men and women to the ballpark to honor their service and enjoy the game.

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Kansas City Athletics' Manager, Lou Boudreau
Tue, January 28 2014

(Almost) True Comics!

For many people, sitting down and reading a thick history book is not the most exciting proposal.  I have had more than one relative question my choice to study history, and inform me that it was their least enjoyable class in school.  Luckily for them, history can be found in more places than traditional scholarly textbooks.  History can be found in television, movies, and even comic books.  Although it may be more enjoyable to experience history in this way, these sources may not always be the most accurate representations.

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First Panel of Lincoln Flying Fighter Comic Strip
Wed, January 22 2014

It’s Museum Selfie Day! Go Ahead, Snap Yourself

Today, January 22nd, is Museum Selfie Day. Museums everywhere are joining in on the selfie phenomenon, one that in 2013 earned “selfie” Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year and inspired an exhibition examining the cultural significance of digital self-expression. The National Air and Space Museum is a selfie canvas every day and we appreciate the many inspiring and often highly entertaining photos that visitors share of themselves in front of historic air and spacecraft. 

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Allan Janus with Space Shuttle Discovery

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