Smithsonian Collections Blog

Highlighting the hidden treasures from over 2 million collections

Collections Search Center

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Go Behind the Scenes at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center Open House

Visitors in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar during the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's first Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Open House, January 25, 2014.  NASM 2014-00186
Although the artifacts on display at the Smithsonian Institution are the main attractions in its many museums, speculating about what goes on behind the scenes is another fun pastime.  We learned from Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian that the displays come to life and frolic in "hidden storage rooms" underneath the National Mall.  Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol told us all about the top secret research projects taking place at the Museum Support Center (MSC).  And, of course, the National Air and Space Museum’s SR-71 Blackbird is more than meets the eye—a Transformer in disguise.

On January 24, 2015, from 10am to 3pm, the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is holding its second Open House so that the public can see more of what really goes on behind the scenes.  Last year’s Open House was just the beginning!

Last year, the focus of many of the displays was the Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver.  In the National Air and Space Museum Archives, we had a table explaining how the Archives provided materials for the restoration processes.  Among the features in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar were restoration specialist Anne McCombs demonstrating the art of rib stitching and curator Jeremy Kinney discussing the work on the Helldiver.

Restoration specialist Anne McCombs demonstrates the art of rib stitching.  NASM 2014-00179
In the Archives, we opened up our back hallway so that visitors could see inside our storage areas. Inside our reading room, we featured several of our new collections and even set up our conference room like a movie theater!

The Archives Reading Room included displays on Tools of the Trade and Pioneering Pilots.  NASM 2014-00191
So what is going to be new this year?  The latest aircraft to be added to the Restoration Hangar is the Martin B-26B Marauder Flak-Bait.  Initially, the nose was on display in the Museum on the National Mall, but with the help of drawings from the Archives, it was reunited with the rest of the airplane (which had been stored at the Paul E. Garber Facility) in Chantilly.  The studio model of the Starship Enterprise has been transferred from the Museum downtown and will be featured in the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory.  Also featured will be the Evelyn Way Kendall Ballooning and Early Aviation Collection.

The original model of the Starship Enterprise from the television series Star Trek is removed from its display in the National Air and Space Museum's gift shop by members of the Museum's staff for restoration. After restoration, Enterprise will be returned to display in the Museum's Boeing Milestones of Flight.  NASM 2014-04850
There will also be lectures, hands-on activities throughout the building, timed limited-access aircraft hanging tours, and other exciting Open House activities.  And keep an eye on the SR-71—you never know when it just may transform!

Elizabeth C. Borja, Archivist
National Air and Space Museum Archives Department.

No comments:

Post a Comment