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  Air and Space attendance drops (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Air and Space attendance drops
Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-20-2007 08:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Associated Press via MSNBC:
quote:
Museum numbers drop to 5 million from 9.4 million in '03; officials puzzled

It's a mystery even for researchers at the Smithsonian Institution: What happened to the huge crowds at the National Air and Space Museum?

The estimated number of visitors to the museum plunged to about 5 million in 2006 from a six-year high of 9.4 million in 2003, according to the latest attendance report from the museum complex. And the decline has been far sharper than that of the overall Smithsonian, which includes 18 museums and the National Zoo.

Last year, attendance at what has been one of the world’s most visited museums fell below that of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, which features ancient fossils and the Hope Diamond. (Museum officials say this is the only instance in recent memory in which the air and space museum trailed the history museum.)


Continue reading Visits nose-dive at Smithsonian air, space hall

spaceman48263
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posted 02-20-2007 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman48263   Click Here to Email spaceman48263     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I went with my son's 8th grade class in November and even though parts were being renovated I enjoyed my limited time there. After an hour most of the kids had seen enough. I could have spent all day. I hope to talk my wife into letting me take our daughter next year on her class trip so I can go again. So much to see so little time!

spacecraft films
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posted 02-21-2007 06:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Part of that is Udvar-Hazy... they are so far apart choices have to be made... I know it doesn't account for all of the drop, but there has been a great deal of construction at the mall museum also.

Mark

Greggy_D
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posted 02-21-2007 07:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd have to say the economy for the past 3 or 4 years has been terrible. I'm sure that had a big part in the lower attendance.

spacecraft films
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posted 02-21-2007 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Economy? The GDP in the United States grew by 3.9% in 2004, 3.2% in 2005 and 3.4% in 2006. Terrible? By what measure?

Mark

benguttery
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posted 02-21-2007 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for benguttery   Click Here to Email benguttery     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The construction around the mall location has been rather nasty. I was only there once this past year, but the construction certainly left an impression.

John K. Rochester
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posted 02-21-2007 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John K. Rochester   Click Here to Email John K. Rochester     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know that last year, on my yearly trip to DC to lay flowers at Arlington..I made a decision to visit only Udvar-Hazy due to time constraints. Enterprise is nice, but they really need a staircase or something so you can see inside the cockpit or the payload bay! However, this year..I'm back to NASM. I just find it to be more "user-friendly". Brighter interior, more information about the exhibits you're viewing, and other reasons lead me to this decision.

Ray Katz
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posted 02-21-2007 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ray Katz   Click Here to Email Ray Katz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For me, I would attend more if they would show different things in their main space exhibit area. What they are showing is GREAT, but I don't see any reason to come back until they show something different.

[I DID go again when they acquired SpaceShipOne.]

hlbjr
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posted 02-21-2007 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think many of us in general have shied away from the D.C. area after 9/11 due to the general idea that things are just a little less convenient and friendly. I may be mistaken on this assumption, but it is how I've perceived it.

Harvey

jamato99
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posted 02-21-2007 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jamato99   Click Here to Email jamato99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, that's a staggering drop! I agree that Udvar-Hazy and Sept. 11 have probably contributed.

In addition, the last few times I've been to the museum they've been renovating and/or thoroughly cleaning different sections. The last time I was there, which was probably May 2006, I remember noticing that certain sections were either completely empty or sorely lacking displays.

Also, for the casual air and space fan, one visit to the museum could be all they need.

Jamie

MarylandSpace
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posted 02-21-2007 04:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More lectures! More lectures! Let's have more lectures. . .

The last two I attended at NASM were phenominal. . . Neil Armstrong. . . Wally, Gene, and Stafford. . .

Not only that, but I had a tremendous time touching base with many, many collectSpace members.

Actually any day at NASM is a great day for me. . . dreaming about the men and women and their machines. . . looking at the Wright Flyer from inches away. . . peering inside Friendship 7. . . imagining the X-15 going mach 6 or 7 . . . seeing the Vin Fiz . . . flying around the world with Rutan and Jenna Yeager. . . looking over the railing at the fragile lunar lander

Maybe in a few years I'll be a volunteer guide and storyteller.

I'll need to make more trips this year to help attendance. . .

Let's have more lectures, more lectures!

Garry

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-21-2007 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I was attending the University of Maryland in College Park, I would sometimes finish with my classes on any given afternoon, pack the books I needed to study for the next day, and then ride the Metro to the Air and Space Museum. Depending on my mood, I would either sit under the Robert McCall mural or along the benches stretching the length of the main floor, where I would alternate between concentrating on my studies and people watching. I would watch and listen as tourists reacted to the various artifacts, sometimes chuckling at the comments, other times casually approaching and volunteering more information in a polite manner. Every visit offered a new experience, despite the artifacts remaining the same.

Beyond that though, there was something special about peering into Friendship 7 or Columbia, or standing on the balcony overlooking the lunar module and catching sight of a detail I didn't see before. I never tired of seeing them and it always brought a wide smile to my face.

Today, more and more of the museum-going audience is expecting a theme park rather than a gallery and that may be contributing to the sway in attendance. Not that there is anything wrong with incorporating interactivity into a museum exhibit — in fact, I greatly support such and thought that the Wright Brothers hall that the museum hosted was absolutely brilliant with its role-playing actors and hands-on demonstrations — but there is something special about allowing an artifact to stand alone and tell its own stories, even if those stories aren't always accurately remembered.

mjanovec
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posted 02-21-2007 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spacecraft films:
Economy? The GDP in the United States grew by 3.9% in 2004, 3.2% in 2005 and 3.4% in 2006. Terrible? By what measure?

It's getting off topic, but GDP is only a an indication of a nation's economy on the large scale. It doesn't say where the wealth is distributed.

My personal opinion is that wealth is increasingly in the hands of few, where the middle class is being shut out. I believe that the economy for middle class people has been in a downward trend for many years now...with more families having to work harder to obtain the same level of wealth they had 10, 20, or 30 years ago. As such, I think available money to spend on non-essential goods and services has shrunk for the average person. Granted, I don't have any solid numbers at this time to back that up, but I can see anecdotal evidence of this from my own experiences and from people I know.

spacecraft films
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posted 02-21-2007 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But "I think" and "my opinion" aren't really a good way to look at something as measurable as the economy. And there are many areas of the country that have widely varying economic performance. My point is that characterizing the economy over the past 3 to 4 years as terrible is something the media loves to do, but isn't really supported by the numbers. When I see it parroted I just have to speak up and ask for the evidence.

There are an awful lot of SUVs, designer handbags, cell phones, etc. etc. being purchased that are driven by middle incomes and the increases in disposable incomes in this country.

But I suppose this isn't the forum to get into economic discussions, so I'll stop here with my apologies to Robert.

Mark

Blackarrow
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posted 02-21-2007 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Before jumping to too many conclusions, how do overall tourist figures (for the USA in general and Washington DC in particular)compare between 2003-2006?

Don't jump down my throat for pointing this out, but there have been many comments in the British press (particularly holiday reports in the Sunday papers) that tourists arriving in the States are having a tough time getting through security, immigration, etc. Not surprising perhaps, but I suspect the heightened security has caused a lot of people to think twice about visiting the States (and the capital city in particular) in present circumstances.

spacecraft films
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posted 02-21-2007 07:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, that's not what the U.S. government says...

"International travelers spent more than $107 billion last year -- an amount that includes food, lodging, recreation, gifts, plane fares and cruise fares, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. That's up from an earlier record of $103 billion spent in 2000.

"We have seen full recovery in spending by visitors to the United States since September 11," Ana Guevara, the Commerce Department's deputy assistant secretary for services said in a prepared statement. "This is good news for the U.S. travel and tourism industry, which employed 8.3 million Americans last year."

Also Thursday, the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that the total number of passengers making international flights on U.S. airlines rose by 5.9 percent for the first 11 months of 2006."

Source: = Associated Press, February 15

The only Washington DC figures I can find show that from 2004 to 2005 international tourism increased by 4.6% and domestic tourism by 5%. Of course we don't know how bad it might have been in 2004.

Of course this drop in attendance explains why the NASM hasn't restocked/ordered any of my DVDs in a while. They had a downturn just after the Iraq war started and put something of a freeze on their giftshop media purchasing. Then they came back strong when Udvar-Hazy opened. I was wondering what was going on. So I suppose for my own family's economy it is a downturn.

Mark

spacecraft films
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posted 02-26-2007 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, so much for that theory. The NASM just stocked back up on all our stuff, including a bunch they never carried before.

Mark

MCroft04
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posted 02-26-2007 06:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They probably read your post on cs.

Kevmac
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posted 02-26-2007 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevmac   Click Here to Email Kevmac     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you haven't had the chance to visit Udvar-Hazy Center (UHC) lately, you should give it a try. And then come again every year year. They are just a little more half than half populated with aircraft now. There is a lot more to add in the next few years with aritfacts that are in storage or restoration. I go in twice a month as a volunteer and there is almost always something new to see. Added over the last several months were a P-61 Black Widow and a newly-retired F-14 Tomcat. Near the front information desk is a floorplan blueprint of what the museum looks like now and what it will look like in a few years when complete. There is still lots of floorspace and room from the hangar ceiling to hang things. And as we've heard here on CS, they'll probably switch out shuttles in a few years when the fleet is retired (gee, it's sad to think that it's not that far off). Also planned is to move the restoration center connected to the museum so you can watch the process real-time. Still lots of funds need to be raised for that to happen. Anyway, treat yourself to the UHC next time you're in town. Yeah, I know it cost $12 to park, but it's worth every penny.
KM
Also--Mark, glad to hear that they're restocking your DVDs. I hope they're doing it at UHC also. They quit having any selection out there many months ago.

Glint
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posted 02-28-2007 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This just in from the NASM via my in-box:

quote:
The Museum has many objects that were taken to the Moon and back. Visit the Apollo to the Moon gallery for a sampling. Click on the photo above to see a lunar module on display, just like the ones left behind by the 12 Moon landings.

So now there's 12 LEMs on the moon? And they wonder why attendance is dwindling.

Joe Holloway
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posted 02-28-2007 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Holloway   Click Here to Email Joe Holloway     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What I find most disheartening about travel, in general, is that I practically have to take out a second mortgage or sell one of my offspring just to afford:

1) a hotel room;

2) admission to places like KSC Visitor Complex or the "Cape: Then & Now" tour;

3) petrol to get there.

To me, one of the biggest thrills of going to the Apollo 1 ceremony at Pad 34 last month was that I didn't have to leave my left arm at a ticket booth beforehand.

Stuff is just getting too expensive, and where does it all end?

JJPUCK
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posted 02-28-2007 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JJPUCK   Click Here to Email JJPUCK     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I caught this just a few minutes ago and proceeded to CS to say something pithy. Good on ya for seeing it first! Overall, the "What's Up" newsletter has been characterized by Regular! and glaring space errors.

While I do not know for certain why the NASM attendance almost HALVED, I have not had the best of experiences in my 2006 visits. For certain, however, the lectures are a must and we don't get enough. Lastly, while the speakers have been INCREDIBLE, the staff handling almost caters to the elite cash paying sponsors (Who lest we forget- without we would not have them at all. Thank you OMEGA, I'll someday buy a Seamaster.) However, the disdain for an autograph/signing session afterwards is evidenced through the Director's and other staff's words and actions. Despite following NASM rules, politely offering to allow a sponsor to proceed my "next in line" place and thanking them for their sponsorship, the staff seemed put out by the fact that they had a session at all. Sorry for the rant. Please don't flame me too badly. All in all, I commend the staff and museum for a first class museum which I visit 6 or more times annually. Thanks! J.

quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
This just in from the NASM via my in-box:

So now there's 12 LEMs on the moon? And they wonder why attendance is dwindling.


spacecraft films
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posted 02-28-2007 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, hotel rooms, admission prices and petrol are at their prices because the market will bear it. Where will it end? When the market won't. Since Adam Smith wrote his groundbreaking work in 1776 still the most efficient way to set prices.

Mark

Joe Holloway
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posted 02-28-2007 08:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Holloway   Click Here to Email Joe Holloway     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, I am well-aware of the obvious advantages of free-market economies. However, I still find it a crying shame that I, an active duty NCO, can barely afford to show my own children the very space history which my own father exposed my siblings and I to repeatedly at little or no cost of admission.

(e.g., KSC Visitor Center...a FREE attraction from 1967 until 2000. Cape Canaveral AFS Sunday drive-thru tours...a FREE privilege until the early-1980s.)

And oh, by the way, those sites are on FEDERAL installations. And another by the way, a majority of the hardware in the rocket gardens and museums was ORIGINALLY bankrolled by WHOM? (Certainly not the contractors who man the ticket kiosks.)

Anyway, I'll stand down now and revert to looking at my pictures from the '60s and '70s.

Joe

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-28-2007 09:19 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 Joe Holloway:
And another by the way, a majority of the hardware in the rocket gardens and museums was ORIGINALLY bankrolled by WHOM? (Certainly not the contractors who man the ticket kiosks.)
Sure, the taxpayers paid for the rockets to be built and launched, but seeing as they didn't liftoff and now that they are museum exhibits, who pays for their restoration and upkeep? Or is it better for the rockets and spacecraft to slowly rot away?

And for that matter, which would you rather have? A visitor complex that is free but can't afford to modernize and thus fails to attract the public or an active VC that includes astronaut appearances daily, new attractions, proper and well maintained display areas for artifacts like the Saturn V and that consistently draws tourists from the Orlando fantasy worlds to the real Tommorrowland?

I do understand the desire to keep the artifacts accessible to as many people who want to see them, but facilities such as the Apollo Saturn V Center don't come free and I have yet to meet anyone who has toured that building who believes it wasn't money well worth spent...

dsenechal
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posted 02-28-2007 09:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dsenechal   Click Here to Email dsenechal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Along with everything else mentioned above, I expect that there are cultural reasons as well. Although post-9/11 circumstances have severely limited my ability to travel to the Air & Space museum (so I guess it's partly my fault), I am still thrilled when I have the opportunity. However, my children have little interest - not necessarily because they don't care about aviation, space, or science (my son is going to Purdue this fall to study aeronautical engineering, and my daughter's in her third year of chemical engineering), but because it isn't "fun". It isn't a PS3 or a Wii (no nunchucks at Air & Space), it isn't MTV, and it hasn't been fully-"Disney-fied". How can a static display of an artifact, however historic or iconic, compete with virtual adventure and mind-numbing visuals that could trigger an attack of epilepsy? Don't get me wrong here. Please don't do to the Air & Space Museum what so many other museums have done: heavy on the chrome and plastic decor, light on the exhibits, cursory information on what few exhibits there are, and a straight shot to the gift shop, where we can purchase inflatable shuttles, "Neil Bears", coffee mugs, and choose from a sparse selection of "NASA 25 Years of Glory" DVD's in a tin collectors box and inflated to museum prices. It just seems that "real" museums, such as Air & Space, have an increasing and inherent disadvantage compared to the plethora of distractions that are out there. Just my thots. Dave

MCroft04
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posted 02-28-2007 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dsenechal:
However, my children have little interest - not necessarily because they don't care about aviation, space, or science (my son is going to Purdue this fall to study aeronautical engineering, and my daughter's in her third year of chemical engineering), but because it isn't "fun".
You should be very proud of your children; regardless of whether they choose to support space exploration.

Joe Holloway
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posted 02-28-2007 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Holloway   Click Here to Email Joe Holloway     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:

Sure, the taxpayers paid for the rockets to be built and launched, but seeing as they didn't liftoff and now that they are museum exhibits, who pays for their restoration and upkeep? Or is it better for the rockets and spacecraft to slowly rot away?

And for that matter, which would you rather have? A visitor complex that is free but can't afford to modernize and thus fails to attract the public or an active VC that includes astronaut appearances daily, new attractions, proper and well maintained display areas for artifacts like the Saturn V and that consistently draws tourists from the Orlando fantasy worlds to the real Tommorrowland?

I do understand the desire to keep the artifacts accessible to as many people who want to see them, but facilities such as the Apollo Saturn V Center don't come free and I have yet to meet anyone who has toured that building who believes it wasn't money well worth spent...

spacecraft films
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posted 02-28-2007 11:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Joe,

I think there are two issues here: pay and benefits for an NCO and what amounts to user fees for space history. I'm not disagreeing that perhaps an NCO should be able to afford such visits, but might suggest that there is a price for preservation and perhaps the maladjustment is on the revenue side rather than with the expenses. But just the fact that it was paid for with taxpayer dollars doesn't affect the argument. I paid for part of Air Force One, but I don't have the option of booking it for my next flight, or even seeing it for free whenever I want to.

Space interest even in 1976 -1980 was vastly different than it is today. Recently I saw a picture of the visitor center during the STS-1 rollout and it was PACKED. Cars everywhere. I wonder if it is even like that during a launch now. News coverage of flights was much more involved, including the first shuttle flights. Space held a much more mainstream fascination. Largely that is gone now, unless something goes wrong.

That having been said I'll offer up the following museum blasphemy and suggestion:

Personally, I love to just commune with the artifacts. Give me a museum or field full of the real things that were there or were built as flight hardware and I'm just as happy as can be. Atlas? I'm there. Saturn? Oh, boy. Flown spacecraft? Can I see?

But we have a special connection with this stuff that just isn't shared by those who didn't grow up living (and caring about) such wonders. And try as we might we simply cannot recreate that magic for our children. That capacity just doesn't exist. I'm not saying don't take your kids there and show them - I do every chance I can. But I've learned that I'm just not going to develop the same enthusiasm in them. It didn't come from the visit to the Cape - it came from watching the adventure unfold. And they don't have that in the same way we did.

So what are we to do? Well, research actually shows that parents who take their children frequently to museums gain no more educational advantage or develop specific interests than those who do not. However, there is one factor that does have an effect - and that is books in the home.

A couple of years ago I started a monthly purchase of a carefully chosen book on space for my kids (I actually purchase two - one for them and one for their school's library). I don't even say anything about it, it simply goes on the shelf for when they discover it (which they do). I even had one occurrence where one of my children checked out one of the books from the school library - that's ok - they didn't realize we had it at home.

I find this more effective than me drilling this stuff into them, because I live it, they know it, and I'm the old, weird dad. But they find it. And they like it. Because it is naturally compelling. And then they like going and seeing the places it all happened all the more. They now have context.

But when we go to the Cape they are still more interested in the rides than in looking at artifacts. And they still prefer Star Wars to real space. Perhaps real space exploration will be mainstream super cool again someday. I hope so. But until that day I'm afraid the best we can hope for is the artifacts preserved alongside the newest attraction that will bring visitors. And that we'll someday have the same sort of innovative leadership in space that will ignite imaginations.

Many of us have lived through a time when space exploration was born, AND we made trips to the moon. That's really extraordinary. I wish I could fully pass that feeling along. But that may be too much to ask. That spectacular time - that unbelievable feeling - is unique to our generation, and try as we might it will really take the same sort of leadership and achievement to create it once again.

Mark

Joe Holloway
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posted 03-01-2007 06:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Holloway   Click Here to Email Joe Holloway     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good morning, Mark.

I wanted to say, first and foremost, that your thoughtful comments are well-received. Further, I also wanted to say that I don't think my NCO pay is the issue here. We are, IMHO, well-paid (although the TRICARE insurance is a whole different story!).

A small point, if I may...flying on Air Force One, vacationing at Camp David, or riding in a Presidential limo, for that matter, are privileges of high office. Visiting Kennedy Space Center at no cost was NOT a privilege of high office for over three decades. It was an educational service to those of us who funded the program. Then, on 1 April 1999, it became a $24/adult and $14/child privilege...literally OVERNIGHT.

Something is wrong with that picture...period.

I myself have four children. I am thankful that the oldest two had the opportunity to visit KSC and the USAF Space Museum a few times in the mid-90s...that we extensively photographed and video taped our visits. Maybe someday, when and if Orion / Ares / Constellation / whatever take to the skies and a new wave of space enthusiasm hits (?), my two oldest will appreciate having had the access to the place they did. They can say, "We were there once!"

With the $75-$90/night hotel rooms and $2.25/gallon gasoline of today, however, I honestly can't afford $200+ worth of tickets just to get on the grounds and in the door of the very same places that were free in recent years.

By the way, my apologies to Robert for diverting attention of this topic away from the NASM attendance-issue. I'll try and stow my soapbox now.

-- Joe

P.S.: My Dad, brothers and I were also very enthusiastic about "stuff that had been there." We used to stop along U.S. 1, S.R. 3, and any other Space Coast roads to look at the several "space junkyards" which existed back in the day. One, along U.S. 1, even had an LM mockup! All you had to do was peek over the chain link fence at it.

mikej
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posted 03-01-2007 06:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While this doesn't apply to the KSC Visitor Center, many of the museums which are home to space artifacts are members of the Association of Science-Technical Centers. If you hold a membership at a local museum, you get free reciprocal admission at any other ASTC facility.

As a Friend of the Milwaukee Public Museum, I get free admission at Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry (Apollo 8, Aurora 7, an LM trainer), the US Space & Rocket Center, Atlanta's Fernbank Science Center (Apollo 6), the former Michigan Space Center (Apollo 9), and the Virginia Air & Space Center (Apollo 12), just to name the ones which I've visited or have plans to soon visit.

Many other NASA facilities and other museums (Stennis [Apollo 4], Glenn Research Center [SL-3], Michoud [S-IC-15], Wallops Island [Little Joe], NASM, Air Force Museum in Dayton [Apollo 15, unflown Gemini and Mercury spacecraft], National Aviation Museum in Pensacola [Apollo 12], Grissom Memorial [Gemini 3]) remain free.

We haven't got a lot of money, and more often than not a "roadtrip" means sleeping in the Motel 6 and picnic lunches from packed coolers. But there is a great deal of space history out there to be seen, and even if we stop off at someplace like KSC and the AHOF for a couple of days (a 12-month pass is less than the cost of 2 individual days' admission), the per-day cost can still be very affordable.

413 is in
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posted 03-01-2007 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Holloway:
...In other words, taxpayers could actually enter the Federal visitor center at THEIR spaceport, gather brochures, buy souvenirs, learn about the next launch, view theater-projected NASA documentaries, and even get live demonstrations and lectures about the space projects-of-the-day...

My apologies also to Robert for the slight "detour" that this thread has taken, but I thought I would post a PDF of a KSC Tour Booklet (5.5MB) from my collection for those who may still be interested in taking a FREE self-guided tour of the Cape (circa 1964). Ah, those were the days!

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b i l l

Joe Holloway
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posted 03-01-2007 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Holloway   Click Here to Email Joe Holloway     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ah, Bill, you are one step ahead of me.

I was going to do the very same thing tonight after work! We have a really nice collection of the various booklets, beginning with the Ed White EVA on the cover all the way up to a Titan 34D!

(EDIT: I don't have this one in my collection. The earliest one is the Ed White EVA-cover!)

Those books are too darn cool! Take care.

Joe

astrobock
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From: WV, USA
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posted 03-05-2007 08:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astrobock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's too hard to find parking. And to see other "attractions" like the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Mint, the Washington Monument, you have to get a ticket to get in. You used to be able to just go in (after waiting in a line of course). Now they only give out so many "tickets" a day. When they've given out the quota for the day, you're just out of luck. I have been disapointed many times in the last few years not being able to get into the buildings we (the taxpayers) own...

lunarrv15
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From: Cincinnati, Ohio, Hamilton
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 03-06-2007 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lunarrv15   Click Here to Email lunarrv15     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
It's too hard to find parking

are you aware D.C. has subway system they refer as Metro rail?

find lodging somewhere along the rail system route where you have a short driving to their parking lot....purchase the fare...exit off you chosen stop and "walk" the area.

no way I'm driving through D.C being stressed out hunting for a parking space

mjanovec
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posted 03-06-2007 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill - thanks for posting that PDF! Great booklet from a great era. I love the DOs and DON'Ts at the end...especially "DON'T fail to enjoy yourself."

413 is in
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posted 03-06-2007 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
Bill - thanks for posting that PDF! Great booklet from a great era. I love the DOs and DON'Ts at the end...especially "DON'T fail to enjoy yourself."

Glad that you didn't fail to enjoy the tour!

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b i l l

spacecraft guy
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posted 03-10-2007 12:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft guy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I live on the West Coast, and I try to get into the NASM every few years or so. I usually go either late January or early March.

It may not be the best news for the NASM folks and to those of us (me included)who are trying to make sure that the next generation understands just how important what is housed in the NASM is, but frankly I enjoy having the Museums to myself - which is what happened on my last visits. The NASM on the Mall was not crowded at all, at the Udvar-Hazy I passed 3 people on the way into the Space Hangar, and had the entire area to myself for at least 2 hours.

I think that the lack of attendance lately has a lot to do with Udvar-Hazy and the lack of new exhibits, but also current American culture as well. On one of the last visits I made to NASM, I sat down and watched the crowds go by and get an idea of what the demographics were and how the hordes of kids on school field trips visiting were reacting to the exhibits.

Most of the kids that I saw were treating the visit to the NASM like a visit to their local shopping mall - a big place to horse around in away from any parental authority that has a place to buy stuff, a fast food joint and doesn't cost anything to get in. They spent most of their time in their own little cliques taking pictures of themselves, running through the exhibit halls pushing and shoving each other along without actually stopping to look at anything, and making a run for the McDonalds (ignoring the LM on the way in). Usually whomever the adult chaperones or teachers were just let them go - and they had no respect or concern whatsoever for the people who were in the galleries trying to appreciate what they were looking at. If there was a set of parents with young ones toddling along or in a stroller, these groups of kids would knock them over and keep going.

I think a reason for the NASM decline is the same reason why theater owners are seeing declines in attendance - no one wants to spend the money, time and effort to go, and then have to deal with the inevitable rude bunch of knuckleheads who think that they can act up in the theater like they are in their own living rooms, and have the theater owners ignore the problem because they are afraid of lawsuits.

I was saddened to see the effects that the outgassing from the McDonalds was having on LM-2 - the Kapton/Mylar Foils on the descent stage were deteriorating to the point where the underlying framework was exposed. The railing and the display consoles on them were worn and greasy from french fry oil laden fingers, and you would not believe the absolutely nasty comments that parents were making to the guards stationed by the doors who were stopping parents and their kids who wanted to bring their burgers, fries and sodas into the museum.

Having to fight your way through all the kids running wild through the museum while trying to enjoy the exhibits and pass the sense of wonder onto your next generation - I can see why attendance is dropping. It's a shame.

JasonIUP
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From: PA
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posted 03-10-2007 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonIUP     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was about to go today, but it sounds like I'll be walking into a ghetto. I would gladly pay $5 or $10 if that would serve as a way to keep away people who want to just overtake the place for something to do.

Free isn't always good.

spaceman48263
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posted 03-10-2007 04:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman48263   Click Here to Email spaceman48263     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I was at NASM in the fall with 50 8th graders they were not a band of hoods running around and I Didn't see any other gangs either. This was even on a cold rainy day in mid November!
Maybe the "hoods" were trying to get in the White House that day.
Not all kids go crazy in public. Try not to make general statements about all youth.


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