Air & Space Museum 2006

The USS Enterprise! Which the Air & Space Museum has taken out of a speculative fiction gallery that used to have actual clips from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and relegated to a place of honor in the gift shop. The good news is that this means it's much closer to eye level; the bad news is that it means it's behind glass and hard to get a good photo!

Alas, poor Pluto! Within a week of the International Astronomical Union declaring that Pluto was no longer a planet but merely one of a number of dwarf planets, the National Air and Space Museum had already pulled it from its position of glory in the planetary gallery with the awful "The Family of the Sun" song playing to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell"!

The symbol for Pluto was removed from the entrance to the gallery...

...though it was still represented among the outer planets in this relative size display. I suspect the big wall display on Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will undergo revision in the very near future. (Insert your own Uranus joke here -- Adam did all afternoon.)

To further complicate matters, the museum has an outdoor display stretching up the Independence Avenue side of the National Mall, a scale model of the solar system with a ball-sized sun at the corner by the Air & Space Museum and Pluto as the furthest planet at the Smithsonian Castle.

People had left flowers and a condolence card, telling Pluto not to lose heart and that it has a strong spirit!

The above is Earhart's Lockheed Vega, sold to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in June 1933 and displayed there until it was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in September 1966. You can see the manufacturer mark on the tail. Earhart flew this plane on several of her historic flights, transcontinentally and to Hawaii.

Amelia Earhart novels are a guilty pleasure of mine, particularly ones where she falls in love with Fred Noonan, for which I blame Rutger Hauer and Diane Keaton in The Final Flight, not to mention Voyager's "The 37s." I know it sucks that she is as famous for disappearing as she is for her achievements.

Here is a model of the Electra in which she and Fred Noonan disappeared during their attempt to fly around the world.

One more photo of Earhart's Vega with the side markings visible.

And this was Earhart's trophy chest.

This is a Fokker D.VII from World War I. If you are not laughing hysterically at that name, you are obviously not a ten-year-old boy.

Also from the World War I Aviation exhibit, a replica of an Underground station entrance leading to a display on air raids.