popularmechanics.com – After nearly two long years, the starship Enterprise has boldly gone where it’s never gone before: the front entrance of Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Along with seminal artifacts such as Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis and the Apollo Lunar Module, the Enterprise is part of the museum’s new 19,000-square-foot Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, which officially opens to the public on July 1 to celebrate .
For more than a decade, the 11-foot, 200-pound prop from the original “Star Trek” television series hung in the basement gift shop, forgotten and ignored by many of the millions of visitors who pass through the museum every year. Malcolm Collum, the Engen Conservation Chair and Chief Conservator at Air and Space, , “that is probably one of the worst places to put an artifact.” But the challenge for moving the Enterprise into the limelight is that the ship was never meant to be preserved for the ages. Made from , it was constructed as a Hollywood set piece, not a piece of pop culture history made to last forever. So, in the fall of 2014 , the iconic vessel was taken down and returned to spacedock for a painstaking, all-encompassing restoration. The goal was to bring the ship back to its last-known modification, which was for the 1967 episode
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