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Popular Culture

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Tue, February 26 2013

Vulcan? But that’s not logical…

The news that “Vulcan” topped the poll results taken by the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California as a possible name for one of the two tiny moons newly discovered to be orbiting Pluto has gotten quite a bit of press this week. In 2012, Mark Showalter of SETI, working with scientists on the New Horizons mission sending a probe to Pluto, found a tiny fifth moon orbiting the icy world.

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Sun, February 3 2013

Football in 1907

On January 15, 1967, the NFL champion Green Bay Packers played the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs in what would later be known as Super Bowl I.  Sixty years earlier, American football looked much different.  Helmets resembled aviator caps.  Forward passes had been legal for less than a year.

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Mon, December 24 2012

Enter the Santa Copter

The good girls and boys of the Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn get a visit from Santa, December 1944.

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Thu, March 1 2012

The Pilot as Hero in the Aviation Film Genre

The relationship between film, history, and mass culture is especially intriguing when we examine the correspondences between the representation of pilot-heroes in film and public perceptions of aviation. These connections are applicable during the heyday of the aviation genre film—the interwar years and WWII.

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Wed, January 25 2012

When puppets tell the story...

At the National Air and Space Museum, we tell stories in a number of ways — through objects, artwork, lectures, videos, planetarium shows — even puppets. Storytelling through puppetry can be a powerful educational tool for our youngest audiences in particular.

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Thu, January 5 2012

Hollywood’s Representation of Naval Aviation: Frank W. “Spig” Wead and John Ford’s "The Wings of Eagles" (1957)

During the recently completed centennial of naval aviation (2011), there were many and varied tributes to the factual history of naval aviation. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that public perception of the armed forces is also a strong historical consideration.

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Sat, December 24 2011

The Santa Claus Express, Then and Now

In 1925, Mr. S. Claus was looking for a modern alternative to his old-fashioned reindeer-powered sleigh. Having once shown an interest in lighter-than-air flight in the form of hot-air balloons, Santa was favorably inclined when Goodyear came up with a solution — toy delivery via airship, in this case, Pilgrim I, renamed the Santa Claus Express for the occasion.

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Thu, December 15 2011

A Christmastime Price War—Over a Toy Ray Gun

The first mass-produced toy ray gun had boys and girls flocking to department stores. Do you remember the first space-related toy you ever received?

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