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Smithsonian Enlists Star Trek Fans to Send USS Enterprise Back in Time

The National Air and Space Museum is asking Star Trek fans to search their memory banks for firsthand, pre-1976 images or film of the original studio model of the USS Enterprise. Conservators are working to restore the ship to its appearance from August 1967, and they will use the primary-source photos as reference materials for the project. Hailing frequencies are open to the public at StarshipEnterprise@si.edu.

Sept. 8 marks the 49th anniversary of the original Star Trektelevision series. The 11-foot-long studio model used in all 79 episodes is currently in the Emil Buehler Conservation Laboratory at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. It will go on display in the museum’s Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall in 2016. The public can watch for updates on the museum’s social channels and join in the conversation by using #MilestonesofFlight.

This 3.4 meter (11-foot) model of the fictional Starship Enterprise will go on display in the reimagined Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. Star Trek pushed the boundaries of network television with its depiction of both men and women on a racially integrated, multinational crew and its attention to contemporary social and political issues. It will join other significant artifacts in this gallery to showcase the importance of popular culture's influence on society. (Photo by Mark Avino)

This 3.4 meter (11-foot) model of the fictional Starship Enterprise will go on display in the reimagined Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. Star Trek pushed the boundaries of network television with its depiction of both men and women on a racially integrated, multinational crew and its attention to contemporary social and political issues. It will join other significant artifacts in this gallery to showcase the importance of popular culture’s influence on society. (Photo by Mark Avino)

The Enterprise model has undergone eight major modifications since it was built in 1964, both during and after production of the series. The current restoration will restore the ship to its August 1967 appearance, during and after the production of the episode “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which is the last time the Enterprise was altered throughout the original Star Trek.

Fans’ first contact was in April 1972, when the model appeared at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif., during Space Week, a 10-day gathering of space-related activities attended by more than 50,000 people. In 1974 and ’75 the ship was displayed in the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building in Washington, D.C., while the National Air and Space Museum’s new home on Independence Avenue was under construction.

Firsthand, original images or film of the ship under construction, during filming or on public display at any time before 1976 are particularly useful. Screen captures from the television series, or existing images and clips available online, are not needed. To find out more about submitting material, the public can contact StarshipEnterprise@si.edu.

 

 

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