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  Petition: Grissoms should get MR-4 spacesuit (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Petition: Grissoms should get MR-4 spacesuit
carolynmeyer
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Posts: 11
From: Madison, CT 06443
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 04-25-2005 07:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carolynmeyer   Click Here to Email carolynmeyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
As I stated earlier, the family had no idea that this was even going on.
Thank you for your kind words about my daughter. You are right. The Grissom Family had no idea, only that Amanda wanted to help them get Gus' suit back.

Amanda truly admires Gus and his family, especially his wife, Betty, who never received the respect from NASA that she should have.

I believe the Grissoms are kind and wonderful people because Scott took the time to call my daughter when she sent him a paper she wrote in school about his father. Someone like that showed a great deal of integrity, humanity and genuine interest in helping her to see her dreams come true. He told her he was a regular person, just happened to have a famous father.

There is a lot of good in a man like that and it came from how he was raised. I hope, in some small way, I am raising my daughter like, too. Thank you Betty Grissom, one mother to another.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 04-25-2005 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by carolynmeyer:
and if a loan agreement was signed by NASA and the Grissom family regarding the space suit, doesn't that mean NASA regarded the suit as the Grissom's possession? If it didn't, why not tell them that before signing an agreement? You cannot borrow something unless the other person has posession.
Carolyn, I believe you are misunderstanding who had agreements with whom. Let me explain:
  1. In 1965, Gus Grissom signed a handwritten loan agreement (which still physically exists) with NASA for use of the suit;
  2. Instead of recalling that loan after the 1967 fire, NASA chose to allow the Grissoms to remain in control of the suit so long as they didn't do something with it that they disapproved (per a NASA spokesman);
  3. In 1990, Betty Grissom signed a loan agreement with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation for display of the suit at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, controlled and owned by the Space Camp Foundation; (Mrs. Grissom falsely [perhaps unintentionally] represented her legal title to the suit and offered for loan an item she did not own; nevertheless, NASA had little problem with the family's decision to loan the suit to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and so did not object [for an example of a similar alleged loan violation, see the recent indictment of ex-Cosmosphere president Max Ary elsewhere on this site];
  4. When the Space Camp Foundation filed for bankruptcy, Delaware North, as NASA's chosen contractor for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, acquired rights to the Astronaut Hall of Fame; as part of that transition, new loan agreements needed to be established with each of the families and astronauts with artifacts in the museum;
  5. Betty Grissom, based on her own comments to the media, objected to her husband being honored at a NASA-run facility [she didn't want NASA to "profit" from his memory], refused to sign a new loan agreement and requested her artifacts be returned;
  6. NASA, no longer in agreement with the Grissoms' decisions regarding the spacesuit, instructed its contractor [Delaware North] to refuse Betty's request for the suit because she did not own it (per a NASA spokesman)
From what has reported and represented by NASA, at no time did Betty Grissom have legal title to the spacesuit. Requesting to have the suit awarded to the family now would be unprecedented.

cfreeze79
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Posts: 307
From: Martinez, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 04-26-2005 12:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Robert, for the play-by-play of the suit's title.

The suit belongs to all of us, not just one family. NASA is the rightful and legal care-taker, and it should remain that way. Now, if this young girl changed her rhetoric to a more constructive tone, rather than accusing NASA of nothing short of grand theft, I think her arguement would gain stronger support.

And I continue to doubt the suit ever even saw a dumpster!

MrSpace86
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From: Gardner, KS, USA
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posted 04-26-2005 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Betty Grissom has never received the respect from NASA she should have received? I wonder why she didn't...

Anyhow, it's interesting that the girl's mother is on the message boards, welcome!

carolynmeyer
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From: Madison, CT 06443
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posted 08-18-2005 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carolynmeyer   Click Here to Email carolynmeyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just an update on the status of my daughter's petition: Amanda is requesting that the Smithsonian, Delaware North and NASA allow the spacesuit to be display at the Gus Grissom Memorial Museum. She is meeting with Delaware North on August 29 requesting their cooperation. The Grissom Memorial Museum would "love to have it" and after Lowell Grissom found out about Amanda's petition, he agreed and was thoughtful to write to her. This is truly one amazing family and Amanda is very proud to be a part of the endeavour.

I also want to say that I very much appreciate that everyone has been very respectful of the fact that my daughter is only fifteen and the language and tone from both sides of this debate has been kind to this fact.

John K. Rochester
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posted 08-19-2005 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No matter what side of the argument any of us take, I think it's still terrific of this young lady to take a stand. I can't get my 16 year old to even read her summer book project!!

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
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posted 08-19-2005 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Carolyn, I applaud you and your daughter in getting involved with this project. I would support the decision to send the suit to the Grissom Museum as long as title stays with NASA or the Smithsonian.

I hope whichever way this turns out, your daughter learns that its never a waste of time to be involved. As a former CT Yankee (born and raised) I'm proud of her.

Mrs. Grissom never forgave NASA for killing her husband. Even though he clearly knew the risk involved. I feel bad that she was never able to heal from such a tragedy. I admire her for speaking her mind. If it hadn't been for Betty Grissom, Roger Chaffee would not be in the Hall of Fame.

I teach my students about Gus and all of those who died in the line of duty. He was a true American hero and his contribution made the moon landing possible.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-24-2005 07:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Washington Post ("Grissom Spacesuit in Tug of War"):
Can a 15-year-old end an enduring dispute between the government and the family of an astronaut who met a tragic fate?

Amanda Meyer of Madison, Conn., is about to find out.

The article updates the status of Ms. Meyer's campaign, and interviews Roger Launius with the National Air and Space Museum. I found the following tidbit of the most interest:
The family agrees that Amanda has one detail wrong. Her site says the family would like to display the suit at a small museum that honors Grissom in his boyhood home town of Mitchell, Ind. Betty Grissom said she would rather see it at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Orlando, about 50 miles east of where it's now displayed.
As much as I love Disney (and presumably Mission: Space at Epcot), the suit would be reduced to little more than eye candy if placed there. One only needs to look at the current treatment of the Lunar Roving Vehicle at the attraction, which could have easily been a replica and made little difference to the presentation.

While I still believe that more people would benefit from the suit being on display where it is now - at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame - not to mention, its removal would be robbing Grissom's legacy of the celebration it deserves, Ms. Meyer's recognition that the suit belongs in a museum setting is commendable.

spgrissom
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Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-24-2005 11:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Let me explain: In 1965, Gus Grissom signed a handwritten loan agreement (which still physically exists) with NASA for use of the suit
Are you positive that the date is correct? It is my understanding that the Grissoms took the suit with them when they moved from Langley in 1961/62. Mrs. Grissom says that the suit was in the trunk of their car during the move. They had a flat tire on that move and the trunk was unloaded, including the suit. If this is the case, why does NASA or who ever for that matter all the sudden have a paper signed 1965?

Regardless, something is not right here. Either the Grissoms are mistaking the date in which they moved to Houston, or NASA has fudged some paperwork. I have worked for the govt. as part of the USAF. I know that it is not above the govt. to do so.

However, Amanda's quest is laudable and deserves praise because she is one brave young lady to take on these large groups.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-25-2005 06:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
Are you positive that the date is correct?
The date was cited to me by a NASA spokesman (and reported as such) when this first became a story back in 2002. I haven't had much reason to question it, as this is the first time I have read of Betty Grissom disputing the date.

Mid-1965 was also cited by the Washington Post and Florida Today (among other media sources), suggesting it wasn't a typo on my part.

Checking my records, it should be noted that two sets of NASA documents are cited to exist - the first from mid-1965, which has already been discussed, and a second that began recording in the 1970s where the spacesuit was until it was loaned to the AHOF in 1990.

In 2002, I requested a copy of the paperwork but as the Grissom's were threatening litigation, its distribution was being controlled by NASA's general counsel. Given the new discrepancy over dates, I will inquire if the situation has changed.

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
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posted 08-25-2005 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The date of the paperwork being 1965 could still be correct even if the Grissom Family had the suit in its possession in 1961/62. Has anyone thought that from 1961 to 1965 the "loan" to the Grissoms was informal? Possibly in 1965 someone said "Hey, we better have some documentation to back this up."

I am positive that no one at NASA was concerned about Gus using the suit for whatever purposes he had it for, even if it was just as a memento. But as NASA grew and deals were struck with the Smithsonian for used flight hardware, the need for a paper trail became necessary.

carolynmeyer
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From: Madison, CT 06443
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 08-25-2005 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carolynmeyer   Click Here to Email carolynmeyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just as surprised as some of you that Amanda got the call from the Washington Post and that they wrote the story. I wish they sold the Washington Post in Connecticut!

Just some thoughts about these dates that are being discussed. I received (Amanda did) an email from a fellow who use to cart the garbage from NASA in the 60's and 70's. He said that he has collected many artifacts that have been in space and guess where he got them - that's right the trash. He also said his company did carting for Disney and over the decades he has collected the still frames that they used for animation from the garbage.

Although many agree the spacesuit may or may not belong to the family, I don't think anyone would disagree the best place for the spacesuit for all involved is the Gus Grissom Memorial Museum. Then no one has it --- but Gus.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-25-2005 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by carolynmeyer:
...he said that he has collected many artifacts that have been in space and guess where he got them - that's right the trash.
Like any government agency, NASA does create trash - and artifacts that aren't claimed by museums or deemed important to keep by the space agency are sold for scrap or carted away with the run-of-the-mill refuse. But that excludes all spacecraft, flown spacesuits and the like by definition...
quote:
Although many agree the space suit may or may not belong to the family, I don't think anyone would disagree the best place for the spacesuit for all involved is the Gus Grissom Memorial Museum. Then no one has it --- but Gus.
I regret having to always be contrary, but artifacts exist for the enjoyment and education of the living, as a means of remembering those of the past. While I am sure the Grissom Memorial Museum is a fine institution and would treat the suit with the respect it deserves, I am curious why you (and Amanda) personally object to its current display at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame?

By the way, was it today or tomorrow that Amanda appears/ed on Good Morning America?

spgrissom
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Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-25-2005 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At this point anything is possible regarding the date of the "loan". As for 65 as the reporting of the date, it is possible that the same people (NASA) were contacted and the same date would logically be give as 65.

I have no idea as to the date of the signature, I was not even around at the time. I just know that hte suit made the trip from Langley to Houston in the trunk of Gus's car in 61/62 whenever they moved.

I saw the suit in March of this year and it appeared to have been very well cared for. I just wish there was a way for everyone to get what they want... but I am afraid that there is not.

Mr. Pearlman, thank you for checking on the date. Just seeing if the dates still stand.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-26-2005 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been giving further thought to my own question posed to Carolyn Meyer's assertion (which we assume is shared by her daughter, Amanda):
quote:
I don't think anyone would disagree the best place for the spacesuit for all involved is the Gus Grissom Memorial Museum. Then no one has it --- but Gus.
The phrase "Then no one has it..." bothers me.

Let's place aside the desires of the Grissom family (or more specifically, those of Betty Grissom) as they are reportedly now at odds with Amanda Meyer's campaign. The decision then as to where to display Grissom's Mercury spacesuit needs to be weighed on the merits of each venue.

By my understanding, the Grissom Memorial Museum in Mitchell Indiana currently has on loan from the Smithsonian:

  • Gemini 3 spacecraft
  • Grissom's Gemini 3 spacesuit with its helmets and gloves
  • Gemini ejection seats
  • Grissom's pencil flown on Gemini 3, and
  • miscellanous components flown with Grissom
Compare that with the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which also stands to honor (in part) Grissom, that currently has:
  • Grissom's MR-4 spacesuit
So, if the suit were to be moved from Florida to Indiana, that would leave the Hall of Fame with no artifacts of Grissom's and the Memorial Museum with one more to add to their exhibits.

There's something to be said about not putting all your eggs - or in this case, artifacts - in one basket.

The purpose of all space museums are to educate, enrich and entertain the public to the wonders, history and future of space exploration. Anyone passionate about space history would hopefully agree that in addition to those objectives, a goal should be to expose the most amount of people to the real space artifacts, while still caring for their protection and preservation.

Let's consider the microcosm of Amanda's Connecticut school classmates. How many are likely to visit Indiana? How many Florida? I am fairly confident that the latter out-numbers the earlier by several orders of magnitude.

Now enlarge that to a national, or better yet, international scale. If the intention is to honor Gus Grissom's memory, where are the most people likely to appreciate his spacesuit?

And while I (obviously) advocate the suit's display at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, if that were not to be its home, is the Grissom Memorial Museum the best alternative? What about the Kansas Cosmosphere, where his Mercury capsule is owned and will eventually permanently reside? What about some other museum where Grissom's spacesuit would be the centerpiece, rather than just another display? Or what about the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center (as suggested in the Washington Post article), which would reach a larger audience than any other space museums could hope.

(As an aside, Amanda's website may be mistakenly confusing the glass case intended for Grissom's Gemini 3 spacesuit with his Mercury spacesuit. She writes, "We are going to holding the call-in towards the Smithsonian to put the suit back in the empty glass case in Mitchell, Indiana, were the helmet and gloves to the suit are," and calls for the suit's "return". The Gemini 3 spacesuit was voluntarily returned to the Smithsonian recently for inspection and preservation - as all astronauts' spacesuits are currently undergoing in rotation - and once completed, will be returned to the museum without any need for a petition or call-in campaign.)

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-26-2005 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On review, I should say that I hold nothing against the Grissom Memorial Museum in Mitchell, Indiana and feel that if the suit was moved there, it would not be in jeopardy of being mishandled or ignored.

My concern is more focused on why the move is needed and why Grissom does not deserve to be honored in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

leslie
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From: Surrey, England
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posted 08-26-2005 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having first seen this story I was feeling for the Grissom family however, I seem to have done a complete turnabout.

The suit is probably best kept in the hands of experts and serves as a great reminder of Apollo One and their contribution to the programme for future generations. Perhaps NASA could publicly dedicate the display to the family?

spgrissom
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From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-26-2005 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do not really think that Mrs. Grissom is at odds with Amanda's desire to have the suit moved at all. Mrs. Grissom would like to have the suit displayed Mission Space from what I understand. That is the only real difference

You are correct when you listed the items displayed at our memorial in Mitchell. We are very proud of Gus, as we should be. Lawrence Country Indiana is also the home to Charlie Walker and Ken Bowersox. So have lots of heritage when is comes to space history.

However, it was Gus that got things started. Is it just because we happen to have items which belonged to Gus in Gemini we should not have things that belong to him in Mercury? We have an outstanding exhibit honoring him and I think it would surprise you to the number of people who visit this very small town to see our park. While I was at the Hall of Fame in March, the number of people must have been down. There were not many there. I'm not saying we have the same number as the Hall of Fame, I am sure that it was the time of year, but I am saying that to say our numbers are too low and people would not see the suit or it would not be admired by a vast number of people I think is unfair.

As for why it needs to be moved... the only reason I can think of is that through the years NASA has not truly done much for the memory of Gus except helping people forget it. When NASA is making money off of someone who gave the ultimate for his country and for the conquest of space, one would think why all the sudden do they care so much for him? It could be that they now have seen the light and are truly trying to do what is right. I would hope that this is what is happening. I only question is why the sudden change? Personally, I think it is simply a battle with Mrs. Grissom for being so outspoken. Again, that is just my opinion... I have been wrong before.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 08-26-2005 10:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
Is it just because we happen to have items which belonged to Gus in Gemini we should not have things that belong to him in Mercury?
Actually, yes.

If I am not mistaken, there is no museum - other than the National Air and Space Museum itself - which has more than one flown spacesuit or spacecraft of a single astronaut's or for that matter, type/class (i.e. Mercury or Gemini) on loan or display. That's not by happenstance; its by design and goes back to the concept of spreading the the wealth. Even the KSC Visitor Complex recently lost the ASTP CM as a result of having two CM on display (the A14 CM is at the AHOF).

That said, it is my understanding that you have Grissom's flown Mercury helmet on display at the museum. The helmet is not on loan from the Smithsonian - which is an interesting question unto itself and merits further research - but is why it was left off the above list.

quote:
When NASA is making money off of someone who gave the ultimate for his country and for the conquest of space, one would think why all the sudden do they care so much for him?
Let's correct a misconception: NASA is a government agency. It does not "make money," turn a profit, or line its own pockets. The money generated by the Visitor Complex goes toward improving and running the facilities, as well as expanding educational efforts and even funding scholarships (an arrangement incidentally, that Betty Grissom helped to start).

Not to mention, the spacesuit now is in the custody of the Smithsonian. NASA no longer decides the spacesuit's fate or even has input into where it is displayed.

quote:
I only question is why the sudden change?
The spacesuit has been on display and featured at the AHOF for 15 years. I don't know if that can be called a sudden change. (And yes, I am aware the Grissom family delivered the suit to the AHOF, however they were never its rightful owners; only its custodian. If NASA had objected to its display at the AHOF, it would have acted in 1990.)

Rob Joyner
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posted 08-26-2005 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Carolyn, regardless of what happens to the suit, whether one is on this, that or another side of the debate, Amanda is an inspiration and, hopefully, will be a role model for other young people everywhere. Actually, there's a lot of adults who need some inspiration too.

In today's world it is a breath of fresh air to hear of such dedication from someone so young. Not everyone is born with the 'right stuff'. And I wouldn't be surprised a bit if in 15 years or so I heard and read the words 'astronaut Amanda Meyer'.

You have a wonderful daughter. You should be very proud.

That said, I respect the Grissom family very much. Only they truly know the experience of having to deal with this personally. Before the Apollo 1 fire though, Gus' Mercury suit was just one of six. I don't know every fact of this subject, what was or wasn't said, signed, when or where. I'm not sure if anyone does.

I think having the suit displayed with the Liberty Bell 7 in Kansas is a good idea, but I have also been to the Astronaut Hall of Fame Museum many times and it is always special to see Gus' suit on dislpay there in it's own semi-private area. Gus is an inductee there and it is a very moving opportunity to stand there in front of it, especially when there is no one else around.

I do not know why or understand why Betty Grissom would rather have the suit displayed at a theme park less than fifty miles away. It would be a great injustice and disrespectful to Gus' memory in my opinion. KSCVC & the AHOF are not funded by NASA.

Disney says it's the happiest place on Earth, but we all know it caters mostly to families with small children, even at EPCOT. I'm afraid that diplaying the suit there would only get responses like, "Oh, isn't that cool? Hey! Which way to the restroom and stop hitting your brother!"

The AHOF Museum is a wonderful place with artifacts ranging from something as simple as an astronaut's grade school report card to a space capsule flown around the Moon, plus much, much more.

I think it's great other museums have artifacts of Grissom. But no one museum should have them all. That only limits accessibility to people all over.

I think the suit should stay at the AHOF, yet also, I think it'd be a great idea to alternate the artifacts between the Grissom Museum, the Cosmosphere and the AHOF from time to time. Perhaps that would put everyone involved at ease.

Carolyn, I hope you, Amanda and your family can visit the AHOF, if you haven't already, and the rest of Kennedy Space Center. It is truly remarkable.

spgrissom
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Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-27-2005 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If I am not mistaken, there is no museum - other than the National Air and Space Museum itself - which has more than one flown spacesuit or spacecraft of a single astronaut's or for that matter, type/class (i.e. Mercury or Gemini) on loan or display.
Check me, I might be wrong but I believe that the Omniplex has several of Tom Stafford artifacts on display. I know that there is a suit there as well as Tom and Wally's Gemini capsule. Why are these items there? Simple, it is very close to Tom's home. Is that wrong as well?

I am not trying to sound rash, I am just defending the right of a hometown to have a nice memorial to one of our own.

quote:
The money generated by the Visitor Complex goes toward improving and running the facilities, as well as expanding educational efforts and even funding scholarships (an arrangement incidentally, that Betty Grissom helped to start).
I am all for expanding educational chances and giving scholarships with funds produced. As well as improving conditions and upkeep of the complex. However, can anyone tell me as to why she was removed from the Board of Direcors as a founding member of the Scholarship Foundation? She did not relinquish her position willingly.

spgrissom
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From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-27-2005 08:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would be lying if I said that I would not like to have the MR-4 suit in Mitchell. However, if it stays at the HoF, goes to Disney, or comes to Mitchell I already have a nice display to Gus in my classroom at the local junior high school. I have a nice painting of Gus as well as one of his high school geometry books with all his diagrams and notes in it. Having said that, if you could or had the power to influence where artifacts went of a family member, would you not want to have as much as possible honoring him in his hometown? Or would you have it all moved away?

As for the helmet, that specific helmet was given to the memorial by an Air Force pilot, who happen to have found it in one of NASA's trash heaps. There is an article in the Mitchell Tribune that has the story and pictures of the man presenting the helmet to Dennis Grissom, who was the father of Gus. If this is the case, and it was in a trash heap (from the 70's), just maybe there is some truth to the story that Gus told about NASA throwing the suits out. I am going to the library and I'll have the man's name shortly who found the helmet.

As I said earlier, just trying to defend his hometown in having the best memorial we can. That's all. Is it fair...maybe not, but then again, life is not fair.

I have said this time and time again. Regardless where the suit goes, Amanda is to be applauded for her efforts.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2005 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
Check me, I might be wrong but I believe that the Omniplex has several of Tom Stafford artifacts on display. I know that there is a suit there as well as Tom and Wally's Gemini capsule.
I apologize for not being clear in the distinction: I meant no two spacesuits or spacecraft belonging to one astronaut, i.e. you won't find a display of Tom Stafford's Gemini 6 and Gemini 9 spacesuits in the same facility. Similarly, you will not find those two spacecraft put on permanent (long-term) display in the same museum. Placing Grissom's MR-4 and GT-3 spacesuits in the same museum would be unprecedented (other than perhaps the NASM itself).
quote:
I am not trying to sound rash, I am just defending the right of a hometown to have a nice memorial to one of our own.
Nor am I trying to denigrate the Grissom museum, which I do hope to visit someday myself. My concern is leaving Gus without representation at the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
quote:
However, can anyone tell me as to why she was removed from the Board of Direcors as a founding member of the Scholarship Foundation? She did not relinquish her position willingly.
That would be a question you would need to pose to John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and the other members of the ASF board.

spgrissom
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Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-27-2005 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The man's name who discovered the helmet is discarded NASA items along with "other Mercury items" is Jerry Gentry. He was a Major at the time the articles were found. He was a test pilot at Edwards and according to the paper he was a friend of Gus.

I personally have never heard of him so I am going to check around to see who is is. And if possible, I will contact him myself. The article is in the June 4th, ,1970 edition of the Mitchell Tribune.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-27-2005 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
Having said that, if you could or had the power to influence where artifacts went of a family member, would you not want to have as much as possible honoring him in his hometown? Or would you have it all moved away?
I don't see this as an all or nothing situation. I am certainly not advocating that Gemini 3 and/or Grissom's GT-3 suit be removed from his hometown museum. However, I would go so far as to say that I would not be in favor if all an astronaut's artifacts were limited to his/her hometown for display. I believe they serve more good when displayed in multiple places.
quote:
As for the helmet, that specific helmet was given to the memorial by an Air Force pilot, who happen to have found it in one of NASA's trash heaps.
For what it is worth, the Hoosier Times reported that the helmet was a gift to Grissom's parents. Per our own article from the time...
According to an article in Sunday's Hoosier Times, a plaque inside the helmet's glass display case at Spring Mill State Park explains that it was donated by Grissom's parents, Dennis and Cecile. How the family came into possession of the helmet is not exactly known, but the Park's manager believes it was a gift from NASA after the Apollo 1 fire.

spgrissom
Member

Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-27-2005 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The article in which you are referring is from the Hoosier Times who ran the article shortly after the Columbia accident.

The article to which I refer to is some 30 years earlier.

Maj. Jerry Gentry USAF Ret., the man who discovered the helmet in a pile of what NASA had deemed items to be discarded, is now decreased. He in turn presented it to Norman Grissom, Gus' brother, who gave it to his parents, who gave it to the memorial.

Mr. Pearlman, I admire you thoughtfulness and insights. I have learned and I am learning so much about our space history through our discussions. You are to be truly commended on the things you do.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-27-2005 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We learn from each other, Steve. While we may each have our own convictions and passions, discussing the relative merits of our perspectives allows for us all to appreciate all sides of the issue. Though I am still very much supportive of keeping the LB7 suit at the Hall of Fame, I better understand the reasons why you and others advocate the Grissom museum.

spgrissom
Member

Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-27-2005 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I respect your decision to advocate for the HoF. If you ever make it to Mitchell to see the memorial, please contact me and I will be happy to show you around our town and some of the old stomping grounds for Gus.

KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2595
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 08-27-2005 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Steve, since I live in Titusville, I have the opportunity to visit the HoF frequently. The suit is presented in an appropriate and respectful manner as are all the other artifacts of astronauts.

That being said I wouldn't be against having the Mercury suit moved to the Grissom Museum. Maybe an exchange or a revolving exhibit could be arranged so that people from all over the country could benefit from seeing Gus' equipment. I don't think Disney is the place for serious exhibits of actual flown hardware.

You should know that my school honors every astronaut and cosmonaut who gave their life for space exploration. If you are ever in Florida on the first Friday in February, I would love to show you the school and have you educate my Young Astronauts about Gus Grissom.

I would never denigrate Mrs Grissom or the pain she and her sons have endured. I only wish them the best.

Ron D
New Member

Posts: 1
From: Fargo, ND
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 08-28-2005 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ron D   Click Here to Email Ron D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just came across the scenario of Gus Grissom's uniform. My take on it is that NASA is the caretaker of the uniform, but that uniform belongs to all of us as taxpayers. If the majority want to see it at the museum in Indiana, then that is where it should be. I feel it should be displayed there. No reason that NASA can not loan it out for a time frame.

The young lady that is spearheading the drive to get the uniform there should be praised for such efforts. Not too many young people display such dedication to a cause, and to preservation of history of our country. Those astronauts in the early space programs were heros in my book. They took extraordinary chances during a very uncertain time in the space program. Can't think of many more worthy causes that a young lady can devote herself too

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-28-2005 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ron D:
My take on it is that NASA is the caretaker of the uniform, but that uniform belongs to all of us as taxpayers.
Just a slight correction: the spacesuit is no longer in the care of NASA; it is now the property of the Smithsonian Institution.

There are many reasons why deciding exhibit locations by popular vote is not necessarily a good idea. The public does not take into account the care and security concerns that must be considered when exhibiting artifacts, nor are they likely to look beyond the "here and now." Its easy to understand why the case of a 15-year-old's petition would be met with compassion and championing; and some of that attention and respect is indeed deserved. However, the decision where the spacesuit resides should be based on what is best for the spacesuit, not the subjective whims of the public.

FFrench
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Posts: 3098
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 08-29-2005 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know how many people here watched the show on the History Channel the other night about saving American space artefacts - from stopping further degeneration of the Saturn V rockets on outdoor dispplay, to ensuring historic spacesuits are also preserved.

The behind-the-scenes look at the Smithsonian's spacesuit preservation workshop, the care and attention given to preserving them and storing / displaying them as well as the concerns they have identified with different materials eroding within the suits, made me more convinced than ever that all flown suits should remain in their care. As someone who has worked in the museum artefacts preservation field in the past, I feel that any other avenue would mean the suits would not be available for future generations: they will fall apart if not correctly conserved, it seems.

There's an entirely separate issue about where (if anywhere) they should be displayed, and the wishes of the astronaut and /or their family are important. But giving up ownership to private individuals would be a disservice to the astronaut's memory and to history, in my opinion, as the care and preservation of the spacesuit would no longer be in the hands of the experts.

I can just imagine what a museum conservation expert's reaction would be to reading above in this posting thread that the suit was being (however carefully) driven around in the trunk of a car with the rest of a family's personal items while moving house.

Matt T
Member

Posts: 1356
From: Chester, Cheshire, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 08-29-2005 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No disrespect to the current custodians of the suits (who are doing an outstanding job) but the Smithsonian has a pretty chequered history in the care of the suits.

Around the time Gus and family were moving his suit around in the boot of his car (and for a long time after) things weren't really much better for many suits.

It's only been in the last 15 - 20 years that the Smithsonian have taken these items very seriously; prior to that there would have been an element of 'stones in glass houses' in any criticism of others.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3098
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 08-29-2005 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You're quite correct, Matt, and it was a situation that extended to spacecraft and many other artefacts too. There was also far less knowledge about how these (literally) space-age materials would interact and deteriorate.

Luckily, times have changed.

jamato99
Member

Posts: 143
From: Leesburg, VA USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 08-30-2005 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jamato99   Click Here to Email jamato99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From August 29, 2005, CNN.com story...
"Amanda Meyer is a nice young lady, and as well meaning as she is, she's a third party in this," said Roger Launius, chairman of space history at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
That just about sums up the way I feel about it.

Gus Grissom has always been my favorite astronaut ever since I first started reading up on the history of the space program. I'd love to see his Mercury suit returned to his hometown museum, but there are two big factors that make this whole thing a non-issue in my mind.

  1. The museum in Mitchell, Indiana, hasn't asked for the suit.

  2. The suit is on display at the Astronaut Hall of Fame. It's not like it's being stored away in some box and NASA or the Smithsonian won't let anyone see it. It's promiently displayed in a glass case at the Hall of Fame and it's very easy to see.
I admire what Amanda Meyer is trying to do and the effort she's put toward this topic. However, if she really wants "to see [Grissom's] memory commemorated the way it should be," she should realize that many, many more people will have a chance see Grissom's suit on display at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida than they would if it were put on display in Mitchell, Indiana.

Cougar20
Member

Posts: 93
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 09-02-2005 02:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cougar20   Click Here to Email Cougar20     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an 18 year old high schooler, I think it's awesome this girl is so willing to stand up and have her opinion heard when so many others are afraid to answer questions out loud in their own classrooms. Regardless of the outcome of this, I have much respect for her for standing up for what she believes in.

Now that withstanding, I believe the suit should remain at the AHOF. I am only 18, in high school, and still living with my parents. I can't afford to pay the money to go to Lawrence County to see the museum down there, although it sounds wonderful, and I guarantee you I can't talk my parents into taking a vacation there as I have already tried (twice.) But a few years ago I got the opportunity to go to Space Camp in Florida. While there, I got to see Mr Grissom's suit and it was one of the best parts of the trip. He's someone I've always looked up to and to see something like that was just awesome for me. Once again, the Lawrence County museum sounds great and I would like to go there someday, but think about all the people that go to Florida for Disney World or the beach and end up killing a day at the AHOF and KSC visitors' complex. Many more people can enjoy the artifact where it is than if you have to take a highly specific trip to an out of the way museum.

Once again, I do not wish to offend anyone as I really do wish to go see the museum in Lawrence County. This is just my response to the comment that the AHOF might not be the best place for the suit because few people actually go to the AHOF.

carolynmeyer
Member

Posts: 11
From: Madison, CT 06443
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 09-09-2005 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carolynmeyer   Click Here to Email carolynmeyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Always nice to see the comments about my daughter. Once again, thank you for your compliments and consideration for her age. When she first wanted to take on this project, my fear was she would be hurt by nasty or rude comments. Thankfully, they have been very few and far between and never on this site.

One interesting note to you about this is the number of people that have objects and space suits, yes I wrote space suits, that were taken from the garbage at NASA. One person sent Amanda photographic proof of a space suit from the Gemini missions that he got out of the dumpster. Even Dan LeBlanc of the Deleware North Corp. that manages the AHoF said they have been negotiating with private citizens to get back some of the space artifacts NASA "lost" long ago. He also said they pay alot of money for these items. If there is any doubt about this, I video taped Amanda's meeting with him. He also said that he would release the suit to the museum if the Smithsonian gave him something in return.

So the ball in now in the Smithsonian court. They have asked Amanda to come to Washington. I will let you know when that meeting is going to happen.

Amanda has had quite alot of support from Indiana. It appears the hoosier state wants the suit back in Mitchell.

Very grateful to everyone, again, for your kind words about Amanda.

P.S. Amanda was very jealous that some newspapers and TV news got to talk to Betty Grissom and she has not, yet, but maybe someday!

wayward ronin
New Member

Posts: 1
From: NY, NY USA
Registered: Sep 2005

posted 09-13-2005 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wayward ronin   Click Here to Email wayward ronin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
C'mon now people, you all are collectors, how many of u have items in your collections, PRIZED items, that were fished out of the "dumpsters" buy government contractors?

You mean none of you?

I have heard first hand stories from, as I am sure you seasoned collectors know of people who worked at all sorts of government contractors facilities who took home things that were going into dumpsters, literally from flights that went into space, and traveled to the moon,

None of you have had any credible experiences with people who had access to engineers who you know without a doubt dumpster dove for "artifacts"?

I am sure, that this was going to be dumped in the garbage, NASA back then didn't prioritize these things as they should of until much later,

How do you think all these "flown articles" like bags, meal packs, circuit boards, etc. and other items get on the market?

From surplus sales, or dumpster diving, or from the astronauts themselves, who took the item because the items would have wound up in the garbage, in some landfill?

Yeah, the "American tax dollar" purchased them, but NASA didn't give a sh** about these items until MUCH later.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1746
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 09-13-2005 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I noticed that was your first post -- I too have only recently begun posting on this site, although I have been lurking here for over a year before that.

I, for one, do not have any items "fished out of the garbage". I suspect that very, very few people have prized items "fished out of the garbage".

I am very, very confident that NASA officials were quite well aware of the importance and value of items that flew in space. If they were concerned about astronauts not selling personal items (envelopes, etc), don't you think they would be concerned about them fishing their space suits out of the garbage and selling them to a collector in Germany (reference to the Apollo 15 flown covers scandal).

I seem to recall some sales years ago by a company, I think it was called ILC, of spacesuit hardware, much of it selling for ridiculously low prices. I don't know if any of those items were flown ... my guess would be no.

Were some freaking circuit boards flown on missions and then discarded in the trash? Um, maybe. I won't lose any sleep over it if they were. A circuit board and a space suit are two entirely different things ... and they ought to be viewed as such, in my opinion.

I certainly respect the opinions of those who have advocated one outcome or another regarding Gus Grissom's space suit, and I am THRILLED that there are some folks on here who are under the age of 40 who are even interested in the space program, much less taking an active role in trying to decide the fate of historic articles from the program.

For what it's worth, I think Grissom's suit ought to stay where it is ... I could live with it moving to another facility as long as there are very, very tight controls regarding long term preservation.

thump
Member

Posts: 563
From: washington dc usa
Registered: May 2004

posted 09-13-2005 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for thump   Click Here to Email thump     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
I am very, very confident that NASA officials were quite well aware of the importance and value of items that flew in space. I seem to recall some sales years ago by a company, I think it was called ILC, of spacesuit hardware...
Hopefully this won't be taken wrong, but I do recall that NASA used Dave Scott's lunar suit as a training suit.

And in re: to ILC, I believe it stand for International Latex Corp. and they are the manufacturers, of parts of the suits, including the liquid coolant garment even till today.


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