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Author Topic:   Displaying Apollo 1 at Grissom Air Museum
GACspaceguy
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Posts: 1394
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 10-31-2010 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would not want to see the suits or hear the audio.

moorouge
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From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-01-2010 04:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
I would not want to see the suits or hear the audio.
Me neither.

May I make another plea. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if the capsule must be displayed let it be by itself, hatch closed, in subdued lighting with just a plain, simple plaque to give just the basic information.

If it has to be, the 'whys' and 'wherefores' are best dealt with in a separate book that could be sold in the museum book/gift shop.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-01-2010 05:15 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 moorouge:
If it has to be, the 'whys' and 'wherefores' are best dealt with in a separate book that could be sold in the museum book/gift shop.
I could not disagree more.

You are advocating moving the capsule from one hidden, dark room (its NASA current storage facility) to a less hidden but still dark room -- both literally and more importantly, figuratively -- ignoring the teaching role that the post-fire capsule served.

More than four decades later, it's time to shine a light on the failure and at the same time, use it to highlight the ability to learn from, improve and even succeed as a result of that same failure.

moorouge
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Posts: 1490
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-01-2010 06:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why am I not surprised by your view Robert?

This from someone who in an earlier post advocated -

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman
For example, were there a safe way to do so, I feel it would not be inappropriate to demonstrate that in an oxygen rich atmosphere items that are generally not considered flammable (e.g. Velcro) ignite.

Similarly, I would suggest an interactive hatch display, that demonstrates not only what was needed to open the CM-012 hatch from the inside, but how it was redesigned for the later command modules.


I suppose one's viewpoint is decided by how one answers the basic question, "Why should this capsule be on public display?"

I take the view that, if it has to be placed in a museum, and I remain unconvinced that it should, it should be done so respectfully and with due consideration to the families concerned. Displayed as I have stated does this. For those that know the background, this is enough for them to remember and not forget. For those that don't, it might, if they are sufficiently interested, cause them to find out for themselves what happened and what the consequences were. This is a much better way of learning - self motivated interest and discovery - than having facts/displays distracting one away from what ought to be the simple statement that in this capsule three brave men died so that one day space travel would be slightly safer and man's knowledge of the universe and the world he lives in would be enhanced.

moorouge
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Posts: 1490
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 11-01-2010 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an afterthought, I suppose that the closest one can come to the loss of the Apollo 1 crew happened almost 100 years ago with the deaths of Scott and his companions returning from the South Pole.

Scott's hut has been left almost untouched and the Polar party remembered by a simple wooden cross bearing the words "To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."

These words would make also a fitting epitaph for Grissom, White and Chaffee.

space1
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Posts: 506
From: Danville, Ohio, USA
Registered: Dec 2002

posted 11-01-2010 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There would be little point in displaying Apollo 1 without any additional interpretive displays as part of the exhibition. (I agree it should be by itself in a room with the hatch closed.) But leaving it to the visitor to research the story themselves misses the whole purpose of the exhibition. Using unique artifacts, first-hand stories, multimedia, and interactive exhibits as part of the exhibition, visitors will learn the most important lessons. They will be exposed to learning resources not available anywhere else. From that starting point, anyone with more interest can do further research.

------------------
John Fongheiser
President
Historic Space Systems, http://www.space1.com

Rick Mulheirn
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Posts: 2458
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 11-01-2010 03:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is my understanding instructions were given to cut the Apollo 1 spacecraft it two, in readiness for storage, along with the Challenger debris, in the dis-used missile silo.

Now we know, the planned silo disposal was abolished.....but I have not heard whether the cancellation came to late to prevent the vehicle's discection......?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-01-2010 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The inner and outer sections of the capsule (as pictured here) were reported as intact when moved to the new facility in 2007.

chenry
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Posts: 54
From: Zionsville, IN 46077
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-01-2010 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am thankful for all of your input here. We have a meeting tomorrow evening and will be discussing communications, displays, and other items for Apollo I as well as some of the other aircraft we are working on including the F-86 which will placed in Gus's markings, and a TF-104 that Gus and Chaffee may have flown. We are researching serial numbers. I can not begin to tell how much help this site has been.

NJSPACEFAN
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Posts: 91
From: Princeton, NJ, USA
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 11-01-2010 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NJSPACEFAN   Click Here to Email NJSPACEFAN     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The capsule should be displayed and yes, displayed respectfully.

As stated before, the limousine that JFK was assassinated is on display at the Henry Ford Museum, though cleaned and with the removable top on (and while not at the JFK Library - I'm sure because his widow who had a big hand in the library didn't want to see it - none the less is on display else where with no mention anywhere of objections of any family members regarding the Henry Ford Museum; everyone that tours the nation's capitol will make a stop at Ford's theatre - where the Presidential Box has been restored and on display as are the derringer that killed him and the clothes and boots he wore that were removed from him; and the Peterson House where he died and the bed displayed with very faded blood stained pillow is on display (I've never heard outcries of the Ford Museum and Peterson House, and most look upon the exhibits with reverence); the Book Depository at Dealy Plaza; the hatchet that killed Lizzie Borden's parents at the Falls River Historical Society.

All are on display with historical context - and to not display the Apollo 1 capsule is to hide the very significant sacrifice made that was so instrumental in ensuring the Apollo Program did in fact revamp, correct, learned the lesson of "go fever" and rush beyond reason, and eventually succeed. Done properly and with historical context - it is the right thing to do.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-02-2010 04:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suppose in the case of cSer moorouge and others with similar feelings, we can 'agree to disagree'. As for the general thrust of all the other opinions expressed so far, I can see no obstacle to displaying the capsule and other artifacts/mementos relating to the Apollo 1 fire except the intervention of the astronauts' families. This is appropriate, of course, but I believe enough time has transpired to put this terrible event in context within the history of spaceflight, just as displays on Challenger and Columbia today and in the future will continue to do.

As for the debate about putting the capsule on display with only a plaque listing the facts, and by itself in a room, that is fine, EXCEPT that preceding and following that exhibit space should be an informative outline of the history of the Apollo program (some photos and videos, of course), and the outcome of the fire's investigation and its legacy. A sign (footnote?) at the end saying .."and if you want more info, check out www.. or (book title) at our gift store!" is most certainly NOT in the spirit of the display you just saw, because it minimizes its historical value and just relegates it to a prop to sell books or refer you to internet databases to complete your understanding of the artifact you looked at. If a person wants more information, he could pass by the gift store and see for him/her self whatever books are available (maybe a reprint of 'Gemini' by Gus Grissom, but most certainly not 'Murder on Pad 34' by Erik Bergaust). Computer touch displays at the adjoining display areas are good.

Also, and this is crucial, the work of docents and volunteer guides is VERY important in interpreting and answering people's queries-and this would be where recommending literature or websites (like this one) can fit in, but only as an adjunct to the experience of visting the museum. After all, if you just saw an F-86, F-104 and then the Apollo 1 capsule, you would rightly (or wrongly) think "Gee, those pilots and astronauts sure took a lot of risks just to bring back a couple hundred pounds of moon rocks!" That's not the point-man always will heed the call to explore, not just the moon but the frozen wastes of the earth's poles, so a visit to the cairn marking the spot where Scott's party died AND to their hut can put their story in more personal terms and illuminate events in human history better.

Fra Mauro
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From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 11-05-2010 09:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It took me a long time before I could look at the suits or listen to the audio. However, I do believe a private room should be made for the public to see them, if the families agree. Why? A few reason, one the government is not doing much to preserve these items. A private collector should be more concerned. Second, we see photos of casulaties during the Civil War, for example, and items from other disasters so how much of a difference is there?

ea757grrl
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From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 11-05-2010 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by NJSPACEFAN:
...the limousine that JFK was assassinated is on display at the Henry Ford Museum...
The X-100 (the Kennedy car) is sort of a funny case because after the assassination, the car was very extensively rebuilt and armored, with a permanent bulletproof hardtop installed, and went on to serve four more Presidents. While everyone remembers it from Dallas in 1963, it went on to have 14 more years of fairly distinguished service, and its rebuild was very interesting from an engineering perspective as well. So much has been changed inside and out, and there's really not much of the car's Dallas configuration left; you could argue that it's only a superficial resemblance anymore.

As for its display at the Henry Ford, while the X-100 was used by the government, it remained the property of Ford, which leased it to the government for some token fee (IIRC, $500/year).

Personally, while I'd have trouble with it being at the JFK Library (that would strike me as a little morbid), I really have no trouble with it being at the Henry Ford Museum, displayed in a respectful manner alongside other famous Presidential limousines.

By the way, though it's late, let me lend my voice to those who believe the Apollo 1 spacecraft should be put on display, in an appropriate and respectful context.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-05-2010 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
I do believe a private room should be made for the public to see them, if the families agree.
I am opposed to displaying the suits or playing the audio of the final seconds of transmission from the capsule. Why? Because it would make viewing the Apollo 1 CM AND seeing any suits or hearing that terrible audio too much of a circus-like sideshow.

At the '27 Seconds' exhibit on view at the USS Intrepid in New York, you get all of the impact of the tragedy by looking at the mementos left behind by Grissom, Chaffee and their families (including letters sent from all over the US by a grieving public), and excerpts printed from the audio transcript.

Something similar on view at the museum planned for in Indiana, together with the Apollo 1 CM, is, I think, altogether tasteful and respectful to the crews' memory...

chenry
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Posts: 54
From: Zionsville, IN 46077
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 11-16-2010 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well we at the Grissom Air Museum got word today that NASA had several meetings about the Apollo I CM. After it was all said and done they said that they plan to keep it in storage for now. They did give us info on who to contact in order to get a few of us out to see the CM.

I must say that NASA really treated us great through all of this. We knew going in that the odds were slim, but if we didn't try the odds were nill. We are moving the F-104 back soon though and that is a bird that Gus may have very well flown.

I want to thank all of the great members on here for all of their input. It is still something that one day we hope to display, and we are still planning to tell the story of Gus and Apollo I in different manners. NASA has offered us some items for display that can help tell that story and we plan to use that. Thank you all again, and thanks for the warm welcome here.

Chris Henry
Grissom Air Museum

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 11-16-2010 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At least you made the effort and it raised the awareness among some in NASA that at least one museum has an interest in preserving and displaying the capsule. As long as they are keenly aware of that interest, they may be less inclined to just scrap the capsule or bury it.

Also, you may wish to continue a dialogue with them. Even if you can't display the entire capsule, there may be an opportunity to obtain an artifact or piece of hardware from the capsule. For example, they may be willing to allow the hatch to be displayed at some point...which, as we all know, is a key artifact of the history of Apollo 1.

cv1701
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From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-16-2010 09:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cv1701     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chenry:
After it was all said and done they said that they plan to keep it in storage for now.
Did they say why?

Fra Mauro
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Posts: 1017
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 11-17-2010 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would've been shocked if they had turned over or lent the CM to the museum. Too much negative publicity I suppose.

dtemple
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From: Longview, Texas, USA
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 11-27-2010 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dtemple   Click Here to Email dtemple     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Evidently the matter of displaying Apollo 1 is settled for now - unfortunately. I cannot understand the objections to it being displayed. No one was going to be forced to see it. To those who want it kept out of sight, had you rather it rot then be tossed in a land fill? That is where Apollo 1 is headed eventually - might be many more decades before that happens but it is the direction it is going. There was at one time a plan to bury it in a missile silo that undoubtedly leaks by now - no different than sending it to a land fill to me.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 11-29-2010 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
'Out of sight, out of mind' would be a good (and sad) description of the decision. I guess the only unflown capsules worthy of exhibit are 'Freedom 7 II', some Gemini and Apollo boilerplates and space shuttle Enterprise. Maybe they'll revisit the issue for the 50th anniversary?


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