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Author Topic:   Space artifacts damaged in 1978 museum fire
nasamad
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Posts: 1890
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 04-01-2010 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While browsing the National Air and Space Museum's website I came across this page for an Pen, Ball-point, Apollo 11. The plaque displayed with the pen reads:
Damaged in the February 1978 fire
Was the fire at the museum, or was the pen elsewhere when it was damaged, and does anyone know if any other artifacts were damaged? I haven't found a thing about it during my searches.

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-01-2010 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fire was at the original site of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, a different building to where the museum is today. The pen was on loan at the time from the Smithsonian. It is on loaned display at the museum's new location today, which opened at the new site in 1980. The pen is on display next to one of the rock boxes used on the surface of the moon on Apollo 11, both of which are next to the Apollo 9 command module.

That little pen has had an adventurous life!

nasamad
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Posts: 1890
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 04-02-2010 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Francis, you're right, it has had an interesting journey so far!

Was any other space hardware damaged in the fire?

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-02-2010 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just asked our curators, and they don't know of any other space hardware damaged at that time.

E2M Lem Man
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Posts: 793
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 04-03-2010 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, there were a few more that were lost or damaged in that tragic fire. My fondest item I remember (before my dear friend Francis's time) was the famous full size (test tube shaped cabin) Lunar Excursion Module that President Kennedy gave a speech in front of when it was at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston in 1962-3.

Yes, that was before the center was built. I believe that MSC was in downtown Houston in those days.

I remember standing next to it and my boyish mind slipped through the history, and wondered about landing on the Moon with it - when the hills and craters were shaped by Chesley Bonestell and Freeman, and you wore a modified Mercury suit!

nasamad
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Posts: 1890
From: Essex, UK
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 04-04-2010 03:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim, thanks for the info, I had wondered what had happened to that early LEM, I thought it may have been scrapped.

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-05-2010 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Jim - your posting made me go back to our photo archives file of exhibitions in that facility. I found two LM mockups in photos, along with other models. I asked the curators about them, and they believe that one was sold before the fire, and one was a temporary exhibition - so neither were in that fire. Of course, we are talking about a long time ago, and none of the current staff were at that facility. I will see if I can get permission to post some of the images. Thanks.

SpaceSteve
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Posts: 330
From: San Antonio TX, USA
Registered: Apr 2004

posted 04-05-2010 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceSteve   Click Here to Email SpaceSteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember that fire, as I grew up in San Diego...I was 15 years old when it happened. It was in the old Electric Building on El Prado in Balboa Park.

Perhaps the biggest item that was destroyed, was what I believe was the only complete replica of the Spirit of St Louis, the airplane Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. It was built by many of the same men who built the original plane at Ryan Aeronautics.

After the fire, donations came in, and they were able to build another replica.

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 04-05-2010 02:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jim, one of the "Test Tube" mock-ups was at the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York. I remember it had a pink seat in it. The LM sat right next to Aurora 7.

Francis, if you could find a photo I would appreciate it.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-08-2010 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lou Chinal:
Francis, if you could find a photo I would appreciate it.
After receiving permission from our Library and Archives, we have created a Flikr page with a selection of some of the space items on display in our former location prior to 1978. None of these items are believed to have been affected by the fire - they were either on loan (some of these appear to be a temporary space exhibition with large-scale mockups) or sold prior to that event.

We have also included photos of the LM mockup as part of a street parade, and a visit by the Apollo 17 crew.

There are other photos in the archive of other space items but they all appear to be either smaller models of various space items (satellites, etc.) or paintings of notable space figures.

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