formats

I thought I’d take a break from my posts about my intern project to update you on some other things going on in my internship program. We recently took two field trips (you’re never too old for a field trip) to the other two Air and Space facilities in which interns are working: the Stephen F Udvar-Hazy Center, the second National Air and Space Museum facility out in Chantilly, Va. and the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility which is not open to the public. It was a lot of fun to be able to go out to these two facilities and learn more about what the other interns are up to. It was especially enlightening for me because I’ve been writing about some of these interns but hadn’t actually had the chance to meet them, so it was great putting a face to the name.

We went to Garber on the first of July and it was really cool to see the behind-the-scenes of collections and restoration. Only 10% of NASM’s collection is on display, and a lot of it is stored at Garber. It’s crazy to think that we have two huge museums filled with artifacts yet those on display are only a small portion of what we have. This picture displays one of the many airplanes in the collection not at display at either museum.

HPU High Point University Smithsonian

I had no idea how much time and effort goes on before the artifacts even reach the museum for display. This internship is certainly giving me a new appreciation for how complicated and time-intensive operating a museum can be.

Yesterday, was our trip out to Hazy and I was really excited about it because, although my house is actually closer to Hazy than it is to the National Mall location, I’d never been out to Hazy . And let me tell you, I was blown away. The Udvar-Hazy Center is a beautiful museum—a lot more modern than the museum in DC, which makes sense because it’s only been open for 10 years. Nicknamed “America’s Hangar”, it is located right near Dulles Airport and it has a lot of space to display the larger planes that just can’t be housed on the Mall. Aircraft on display at Hazy include the Enola Gay, the SR-71 Blackbird, a massive Boeing Dash 80 (which would become the Boeing 707), an Air France Concorde (one of the first supersonic planes in flight) and so many more. As you can see in this picture, the museum looks like an airplane hangar and planes are arranged in a variety of ways, both on the ground as well as hanging from the ceiling, some even upside down to appear as though they are flying. It really is amazing to see so many airplanes in one place.

HPU High Point University Smithsonian

One of the newest (and in my opinion most exciting) additions to the Hazy collection is the Discovery Space Shuttle, which arrived at Hazy in April of last year (fun fact: the Communications office I’m working in here at NASM actually just won a PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for their “Welcome Discovery” campaign). Anyway, it’s pretty amazing to walk around Discovery, knowing that the massive craft in front of you has spent over 300 days in space. There are only three other space shuttles on display in the country, so it’s amazing that the Smithsonian is able to give Washingtonians and tourists the opportunity to see one of the four remaining shuttles. The shuttle is massive—no surprise there—so I couldn’t capture the whole thing in one picture, but this picture shows the side as well as the American flag on display behind the shuttle.

HPU High Point University Smithsonian

I’m really glad that we were able to take these two field trips out to the other NASM facilities because I was able to learn a lot about the Museum as well as the other interns and their projects during the two trips.