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  Displaying Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Displaying Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia
Rick Mulheirn

Posts: 3535
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 02-01-2011 05:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by moorouge:
Do you mean "brave" as defined by Sir Humphrey Appleby?
No, brave quite simply because the subject matter is naturally sensitive in the extreme and there will be opposition to displaying such items.

In my opinion, not displaying at least small, modest artifacts from Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia does the memories of the brave crews a disservice.

Their lives, ideals and ambitions should be celebrated. Others will disagree; I understand and respect that viewpoint


Posts: 888
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 02-01-2011 07:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding Challenger, there were various flight articles secured within storage lockers. For example: jackets, shirts, checklists, food items, experiments, etc.

After recovery, what happened to these items? Were they also placed with the wreckage in the silo?


Posts: 1179
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 02-02-2011 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by moorouge:
Do you mean "brave" as defined by Sir Humphrey Appleby?
Mr. Appleby was certainly not 'brave', if he's defined in the link as being a master of obfuscation and manipulation. The only people being brave are historians/curators/museum specialists who, like those at the Smithsonian and elsewhere, have to grapple with issues every day regarding emotion-laden artifacts, documents and other historical objects to display.

How do we remember, in essence, a public tragedy like the three that befell the US space program? If it's simply to 'memoralize' the lives lost, then certainly that has been done many times, with statues, school names (one city school here on Staten Island bears the name Columbia), plaques, etc. But in order to truly understand and appreciate an historical event-tragedy or triumph-then nothing can replace an actual artifact/document involved in that event.

In the related thread on the Grissom Memorial Museum, examples were cited for current objects on display that perhaps are deemed 'sensitive' or disrespectful due to their history: the B-29 'Enola Gay' for one, and the aforementioned Kennedy limousine. When balancing what should go on display and what not to put behind glass, shouldn't curators also take into consideration FUTURE generations learning from that particular exhibit? The USS Arizona will eventually corrode into a pile of dust, and no video or scale model can replace the visceral reaction to seeing one of America's (if not the world's) tragic days.

It would be a sad day indeed if a child of an astronaut serving on an L5 space station or walking on Mars should come away from a display of NASA in the late 20th Century thinking that his father (or mother) had an easy road to the stars, without realizing they stand on the shoulders of brave giants like the crews of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia - and let's not forget those of Soyuz 1 and 11...


Posts: 2225
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 02-03-2011 02:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sir Humphrey maintained that 'brave' decisions were not the natural territory of politicians/managers whose concern might be more to do with public opinion than whether it was the right thing to do.

I mentioned it in my original post merely to point out that any decision made to display artifacts from Apollo/Challenger/Columbia would, most likely, be weighed carefully by those making them against the weight of public opinion.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 36297
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-06-2011 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colorado Springs The Gazette reported last month about a large flag that was recovered from among the wreckage of space shuttle Challenger.
The flag belongs to Boy Scout Troop 514 of Monument, which loans it to troops and organizations for special events. The troop has also carried it in parades...

Troop 514's flag was part of the official flight kit that survived the doomed liftoff of Challenger in January 1986.

Sending the flag on the shuttle was the idea of retired Air Force Maj. Bill Tolbert, then scoutmaster of the Monument troop. The flag was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean and presented to Troop 514 in December 1986 by an astronaut who had flown on earlier Challenger missions.

The flag previously had flown over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and was given to the scouts by former Rep. Ken Kramer, R-Colo.

In 1987, Warren Berger, former chief justice of the United States and president of the Bicentennial Commission, designated the flag "the official flag of the bicentennial of the Constitution." The Challenger flag also was displayed in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Winter Olympic games.


Posts: 56
From: Zionsville, IN 46077
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 02-10-2011 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Purdue University just notified us that they are interested in the display of Apollo 1. They want to work with us (the Grissom Air Museum) to submit a request to NASA. The command module would be housed in a new beautiful climate controlled facility that would be open to the public during regular business hours. So we will see where this leads.


Posts: 1463
From: Olympia, WA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 03-01-2013 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was curious, has NASA ever made any comments on letting the remains of the Apollo 1 capsule, orbiters Challenger and Columbia to be displayed someday?

I assume it'd be after the immediate family has passed on if they did?

Some could easily say it'd be disrespectful to display the remains of any of these vehicles, but I'd feel no more than displaying remains of the attack on Pearl Harbor or parts of the Twin Towers, all of which have been done well within the lifetimes of the survivors and victim's families.

I am sure NASA doesn't want to spotlight these horrible events in their history, but I'd bet the Smithsonian would love to get their hands on any of these remains for display at the Air and Space Museum...

Editor's note: Threads merged.

New Member

Posts: 1
From: Louisiana
Registered: Jan 2013

posted 03-02-2013 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TheFonz   Click Here to Email TheFonz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would pretty much like to echo what has been said above. I think it would be okay to display pieces of Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia provided it is done in a respectful way. I've never been to Pearl Harbor, but have seen pieces of the USS Arizona at the National World War II museum in New Orleans, as well as artifacts recovered from the Titanic, and seeing these things made a connection for me to these events far greater than just seeing video or reading about them ever would.


Posts: 363
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Jan 2012

posted 07-01-2013 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for schnappsicle   Click Here to Email schnappsicle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reading this thread has brought tears to my eyes. I cried for days after the Apollo 1 fire. I cried a few years ago when I read the transcript of the Apollo 1 fire for the first time. I haven't read it since, but those words still haunt me to this day. Having lost both parents and a sister, I somewhat understand the loss the families feel. However, my losses were on a far more private scale than theirs. After my mother died, I received the car she died in. At the time I really wanted it as a memorial to her. After looking at it for a few days, I couldn't wait to get rid of it. There is no way I would want to restore the Apollo 1 CM back to its post-fire condition, or have any of it on display.

Spacecraft Films did a great job of putting together a video tribute to the crew of Apollo 1. We have many memories, and a few photos, to remind us of who these men were who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation's space program. Let's be happy with what we have and not yearn for things that might haunt the memories of the families they loved so much.

I think the best tribute we can give Grissom, White and Chaffee is the salute Buzz Aldrin gave to their flag at Tranquility Base on July 20, 1969.

New Member

Posts: 9
From: Louisiana
Registered: Aug 2012

posted 08-28-2013 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for masterguns81     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned the Patricia Huffman Smith Museum in tiny Hemphill, TX. They have a permanent, decent sized space devoted to "Remembering Columbia" that includes personal items from all of the STS-107 crew, NASA furnished placards detailing all of Columbia's missions, and a special focus on the local recovery efforts.

I don't remember seeing any actual pieces of Columbia, but if you're up for a 2 1/2 hour drive from Houston, it's worth a trip. There's also a nice memorial just up the road from the museum.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 36297
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-28-2013 10:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have a topic dedicated to the Patricia Huffman Smith Museum.

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