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Author Topic:   Displaying Apollo 1 at Grissom Air Museum
chenry
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From: Zionsville, IN 46077
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posted 10-12-2010 11:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi everyone, I am a new member here. I am a volunteer at the Grissom Air Museum in Peru, IN which is about an hour and some change North of Indianapolis.

We are working on updating the whole museum, and also adding on to the current museum building. One of the things that we are discussing and researching is requesting the Apollo 1 Command Module for a display and memorial in the museum.

We understand that this is a fragile situation, and I wanted to try to feel out what those more in the know about spacecraft think about it.

My specialty is in warbirds and restoring military aircraft. So a few questions.

What are your feelings about if a proper display could be done using Apollo I? If so, what are your thoughts on who to contact, although I have a few contacts I am using already at NASA HQ, but is there someone I have missed?

Also what do you think the feelings would be of the Apollo astronauts of us trying to honor Gus, Roger, and Ed. We by no means wish to upset anyone, but think that perhaps a fitting tribute and memorial can be made using the historic items in storage. Thank you for your time and input.

SpaceAholic
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posted 10-12-2010 11:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Executed in the proper context, having the Apollo 1 CM displayed as a memorial would be a positive thing. In addition to convincing NASA you will also have to contend with the families of the fallen (a potentially insurmountable obstacle). Eventually public sentiment will change in favor of such an exhibit so dont give up the fight. Hopefully this can occur before recovery of CM-012 is relegated to little more then an archeological dig in the distant future.

GACspaceguy
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posted 10-12-2010 11:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
First let me say welcome and thank you for asking for input. You could not have picked a better place to ask this question.

In my opinion it should be displayed. It is an important part of the Apollo program and should have a place where people can see it and understand the sacrifice that went into a successful Apollo program.

There are a couple of threads on this topic:

In actuality there is already an Apollo 1 display in the Tellus museum in Cartersville, north of Atlanta. This museum just opened last year and they have displayed the Apollo 1 model used in the filming of the HBO series "From the Earth to The Moon." It was displayed as a cutaway and showed the interior as it would have appeared after the fire. It is done really well and is very humbling.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-12-2010 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree that displaying the Apollo 1 (CM-012) command module would be a positive move, though not solely as a memorial to the crew.

Tributes to the fallen crew members exist. I believe if the command module is to be exhibited, it should be done so within the context of how NASA investigated the fire, learned from its mistakes and improved the safety of the vehicles that ultimately took men to the moon.

Ideally such an exhibit would be more expansive than Apollo 1 alone, incorporating artifacts and materials from the Challenger and Columbia tragedies to tell the larger story about how NASA has responded to and recovered from failures.

My own desires aside, were NASA to decide/be convinced to display the Apollo 1 command module, the Smithsonian would receive first right of refusal per a standing agreement between the space agency and the institution. Were that to occur, I do not foresee the Smithsonian passing on the capsule.

Were the Smithsonian to not take ownership (for whatever reason), NASA would then need to consider what venue would best help tell its story, taking into account museum resources and attendance (much like the agency is doing now for the space shuttle orbiters).

As I have never visited the Grissom Air Museum, I would not presume to judge if it could meet NASA's requirements but I would imagine the competition would be steep with a number of very high profile museums potentially interested.

I don't write that to discourage the Grissom Air Museum's efforts, but only to place the request into the bureaucratic and political landscape as it exists now.

As for the current whereabouts of the command module, since 2007 it has been held in an environmentally-controlled warehouse at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia.

chenry
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From: Zionsville, IN 46077
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posted 10-12-2010 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you guys so much for the information. We do plan on requesting the CM.

I also understand that NASA did have an interest in displaying the CM but the NASM did not have an interest in it. I am a fan of the NASM but they have their hands full with a restoration line up that is pretty long.

I think that we could stand a good shot at being in the running should they release it as we are in Gus's home state, we do not have a Apollo Command module anywhere near us Chicago, and Dayton are two hours away. We are at a base that was named in his honor, and we are trying to work more on board with the Grissom Childhood Museum in Mitchell, IN.

We are also obtaining an F-86 from the NMUSAF to place in Gus's markings, and adding a new building to the house, and restore some of the collection.

The NASM however will be a barrier to get over. We knew going into this that the odds of it working are slim, but we feel it is worth the try. Thank you all for the great feedback so far., and the nice welcome.

onesmallstep
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posted 10-12-2010 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Welcome to collectSPACE, and I applaud your museum's efforts to expand and update its displays. Sadly, nowadays museums big and small have to put in extra money and 'bells and whistles' to draw in crowds and keep them inside and occupied. But if the core of a museum or display is a compelling story and the artifacts that help interpret it, the public will surely come.

Having just visited the '27 Seconds' exhibit on the Apollo 1 fire at New York's USS Intrepid museum (see related thread under this forum), I can say that a tragic event such as the fire (or even Challenger and Columbia) can be presented responsibly and with respect. And put in the context of the space program and Gus Grissom's life as combat pilot and astronaut, it surely will resonate with the public, especially young people.

Apart from the Apollo 1 CM and the F-86, will you be putting replicas of Liberty Bell 7 and Gemini 3 (which is at Mitchell, IN of course) on display? They had artifacts from the Grissom Memorial archives at the Intrepid exhibit, together with items from the Chaffee archives from the Grand Rapids, MI library. The more items that tie into Grissom's life and achievements, the more interesting the visit will be. Sadly, the small Neil Armstrong museum in Wapakoneta, OH has not been updated/refurbished in years, and can be easily missed (or dismissed, due to its meager artifacts-the only compelling one being the flown Gemini 8 capsule).

Again, good luck to you and your fellow volunteers' efforts, and I look forward to visiting the museum.

chenry
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From: Zionsville, IN 46077
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posted 10-13-2010 06:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you guys for the support. We are working hard on updating the museum and making it more of a destination rather than a stop off. We have been in touch with Steven Grissom of the museum in Mitchell, not sure how he is related, and he has been very nice, and helpful. We would like to work with the Grissom Childhood museum, so I don't see us taking displaying the capsule as I am sure those are important to their collection. Maybe some artifacts would be great for display. Thank you all for the warm welcome here. Funny, in some of those links about past threads on the subject, there is a link to the Warbird information Exchange or WIX and a thread on there aout Apollo I from a few years ago. It is actually my thread!

KSCartist
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posted 10-13-2010 08:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You might also contact The Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation: http://www.apollo1.org/

They are a great group whose mission is to honor and remember the contributions of the crew.

moorouge
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posted 10-13-2010 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would seem that I will be a lone voice, but I find the idea of displaying the Apollo 1 capsule for the public to gawp at both gruesome and morbid. There are memorials aplenty to the crew which, in themselves, evoke deep felt emotions. To put the scene of their tragic death on public display is completely over the top. So over the top in fact that one has to question just exactly what lies behind their desire to do so.

In the public interest it most certainly is not. Neither is it in the interest of the historical record. Let the capsule (and for that matter the wreckage of Challenger and Columbia) rest in peace out of the public gaze.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-13-2010 02:07 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 moorouge:
So over the top in fact that one has to question just exactly what lies behind their desire to do so.
I cannot speak for others, but my own desire to see CM-012 (as well as Challenger and Columbia debris) on display is motivated by two words, which I understand are the same two words that can describe why people are encouraged to visit Auschwitz and the USS Arizona Memorial: Never forget.

Some say that photos and videos should suffice, but then why display any spacecraft? Why not fill the National Air and Space Museum with photos of Apollo 11's Columbia and Friendship 7? More poignantly, why maintain the concentration camps or build a viewing bridge over a sunken ship?

I am not advocating a memorial. The Apollo 1 capsule need not serve as a memorial to Grissom, White and Chaffee for its display to be justified. Is Apollo 11's Columbia only a monument to Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins?

We are tactile species; we react and remember best what we can physically see and interact with. If only one child who sees Apollo 1 on display grows up to be an engineer with a deeply rooted understanding for why safety is paramount, then I would say the exhibit would be well-worth the effort.

moorouge
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posted 10-13-2010 02:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
...two words that can describe why people are encouraged to visit Auschwitz and the USS Arizona Memorial: Never forget.
Auschwitz and the USS Arizona are hardly a fair comparison. Yes, one should never forget. More important is to learn the lessons. In the case of CM-012 this can be adequately achieved without displaying it in a museum. Being tactile is not a justification, merely an excuse.

Let's agree to disagree. I find the concept utterly distasteful and cannot begin to comprehend the mental processes of those wishing to undertake such an enterprise.

FFrench
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posted 10-13-2010 04:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
my own desire to see CM-012.... on display is motivated by two words, which I understand are the same two words that can describe why people are encouraged to visit Auschwitz and the USS Arizona Memorial: Never forget.
This reminds me of a story I was reading this week about why many feel it is important to keep Auschwitz as a functioning visitor site:
"Anyone coming leaves with a strong impact they will carry for the rest of their lives."

As one of the camp’s few survivors, Henry Appel, once said: "There is only one thing worse than Auschwitz itself and that is if the world forgets there was such a place."

I may be wrong, but that last sentence seems to summarize some feelings here. The theory would be, as I understand it:

Seeing the spacecraft will not be a nice experience. It shouldn't be. Not seeing it in person as a living symbol of the tragedy may be even worse, as without seeing the real thing it cannot be fully understood, especially for future generations.

I'm not giving an opinion here, it just caught me as an interesting coincidence of theories.

Jurg Bolli
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posted 10-13-2010 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am with Robert and Francis on this one.

chenry
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posted 10-14-2010 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moorouge, first off let me say that your opinion matters with us and the research that we are doing. That goes for all of you guys. And I thank you all for your input. The amount of knowledge that is held here is inspiring.

I do have to comment on the issue of what is behind our wanting to display Apollo 1, our motives, and thought process. Just as it was stated before, a bigger crime would be forgetting that this happened, or that Gus, Roger, and Ed gave all they had for the exploration of space.

Should you feel "good" seeing it? No, of course not. Do you feel "good" standing by the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.? No. How about going to the Henry Ford Museum and seeing the Limo that President Kennedy was killed in? No. How about in the Air Force One that transported JFK's body, and the first lady home and had Johnson sworn in on board that is on display at the National Museum of the USAF? No. But you feel as if you are reaching back in time and actually dusting off the past. We are not morbid or anything, we just don't want people to forget.

The Memorials you mention are great, however more needs done. I had a conversation last night with five people. Five people of various ages from 21-40. All of them are well educated, and none of them knew what Apollo 1 was, and only one of them knew who Gus Grissom was. One person thought I was talking about CSI! Like some of the others say, a bigger crime in our minds, is that 10 years from now, people have almost all together forgotten about Apollo 1.

If you are not for displaying it, that is fine, and that is why I am here to gather data, and learn from those here that know far more about this than I do. Your opinion is welcome and wanted. However questioning our motives, and state of mind, is not acceptable.

Our intentions are only to educate future generations, remind the past generations, and honor the fallen.

Delta7
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posted 10-14-2010 07:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think displaying it, in the proper context, would be acceptable and worthwhile. It's a significant part of space history. Enough time has passed in my opinion. Those who don't want to see it can chose not to see it.

garymilgrom
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posted 10-14-2010 07:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I echo Robert's feelings and agree with Francis' analogy. I'd like to see it displayed.

I think a comment questioning others' motives is "over the top" especially when those motives have been stated so eloquently.

Tykeanaut
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posted 10-14-2010 10:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Being in the UK it probably isn't relevant for me to give an opinion? But I will, if it's displayed correctly I see no problem. If you don't wish to visit then you obviously have a choice. Ultimately the decision should be with the surviving families.

chenry
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posted 10-14-2010 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are welcome to state your opinion no matter where you are from. Remember the crew of Apollo 11 had no names on their mission patch because the moon landing was for everyone. As far as the family goes, we contacted everyone we could about their feelings on it. We actually agreed at the museum that if the Grissoms were not on board with it, we would not go forward with it. Also we believe that a tasteful display is the key item. What we have in mind is very tasteful and in my opinion a very humbling display.

SpaceAholic
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posted 10-14-2010 11:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whatever display may ultimately be chosen, hope it doesn't attenuate the impact of how a culture of complacency and taking short cuts in high risk undertakings will result in death. The best possible way to leverage the tragedy and the spacecraft itself is to ensure the lessons learned save future lives.

MrSpace86
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posted 10-14-2010 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with most members on here: Display. I have found that placing Challenger's remains in a silo to rot away is distasteful. Have people forgotten about what happened to the Apollo 13 command module? It was shipped out of the United States after it was completely picked apart. Now it is famous and properly displayed and restored because of the movie. If it weren't for that movie and Lovell's book, that spacecraft would still be overseas with parts all over the place.

Never forget!

mjanovec
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posted 10-14-2010 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In some respects, I think it's an insult the capsule is not already on (tasteful) display. All of the flown Apollo, Gemini, and Mercury capsules are available for viewing. Yet the capsule where three men made the ultimate sacrifice in order to advance the space program is shamefully hidden where nobody can see it.

The way I see it, space exploration is an important aspect of the future of the human species. We need to have a visible, tangible reminder of the risks of spaceflight...not just the rewards...as we continue into the future.

Ultimately, the Apollo 1 capsule will have one of two fates: It will either end up in a museum or it will end up destroyed (or buried). I, for one, don't want to see us throw away this piece of history.

kr4mula
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posted 10-14-2010 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Displaying the Apollo 1 capsule can reach and touch an audience in a visceral way that other types of memorials just cannot. Knowing that three brave men died inside the capsule one is viewing causes one to pause, reflect, and absorb the lessons that the capsule represents. To me, displays of this type are not about "feeling good" (and there are many displays and indeed entire museum memorializing tragedy in a sensitive manner that evoke feelings other than good), or even about never forgetting. They are about understanding. Understanding the time, place, event, and context for the display is what makes these things valuable to us as an audience and as people. Why did these three men die? What were they doing there? How did the situation arise? What decisions led to that moment? How did we learn from it? How are we still learning from it? A plaque, a piece of heatshield, or some crew mementoes just can't tell that same story with that same impact.

The same logic applies to displaying artifacts of triumph, as well. How many museums would love to have the Apollo 11 capsule, instead of a boilerplate or even any of the other lunar flights? They may look the same and are part of the same story, but knowing that this was the central symbol of the lunar landing program has a significance that cannot be matched.

Burying the Apollo 1 capsule away in a hangar doesn't show respect for the crew; I feel it does the opposite. It keeps hidden the one artifact that could bring their story and its meaning to light in a way that has never been done. I don't buy the "it's morbid" argument because they died in the capsule. How many battlefields are visited by people all over the world? Tourists walk over the places of the demise of thousands every day, and most do it with a sense of reverence for those that died there. You may argue that we respect ships lost at sea as a sacred burial place (look at all the arguments about Titanic and her artifacts), but the difference there is that those ships are indeed the final resting places for their crews. Gus, Ed, and Roger were all buried with honors at locations of their wishes. I believe we should honor them by telling their story as fully and respectfully as we can, which means using their capsule.

GACspaceguy
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posted 10-14-2010 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
I find the concept utterly distasteful and cannot begin to comprehend the mental processes of those wishing to undertake such an enterprise.

I am compelled to respond to this statement as I am one of those people that feel these parts should be displayed.

First of all let's frame this some what. What is to be displayed are parts, not people, not even pictures of people, just the hardware. I believe those of us that are left brained do not see this in the same way right brained people do. It is not out of some morbid fantasy of death; rather, it is how the hardware failed and what the result was.

The section of the SRB that shows the burn through, the crew compartment final configuration (an external view not inside the compartment), how about the fracture of the block I CM from the heat, how the main door was installed showing how difficult it was to remove, what parts made it though the reentry heating at break up, any evidence proving causality, none of which deals with the details of the human aspects, it's the hardware, the machine.

For some of us the space program is more about the hardware than the astronauts. Don't read into that statement that the human involvement is not important, of course it is, but the machine is what allows humans to explore space. I can connect with the machine and its failure as a reminder of how my daily decisions have consequences.

There are many of us that post to this forum that deal with life and death decisions. For me, it's can I allow this aircraft to fly in the condition stated, is the issue I see in the fleet something I should ground aircraft for, can the aircraft reposition in the current damaged condition it is in, all of these could ultimately result in harm to people if wrong.

This goes the same for the pilots, police, doctors, firemen and others who deal with life and death decisions who post here. There are grave consequences for poor decisions. This is what went wrong in all three failures, someone made a poor decision.

Apollo 1, someone approved these high pressure pure oxygen test; Challenger, they gave the go not knowing what the temperature affects on O-rings were; for Columbia it was ignoring the warning signs of foam shedding and the assumption, in the absents of data, that a leading edge strike would not be an issue. All of which was not a failure of the machine, it was a failure of the decision making process and it is the management that is responsible for those decisions.

I believe that viewing the hardware has added value for people like me and it is not due to some morbid thrill, it is a graphic reminder of how important good decisions are and the results of poor ones.

moorouge
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posted 10-15-2010 07:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to say that the responses thus far come as no surprise. It leads one to suspect that this is not the best place nor the people to ask to get a reasoned answer as to whether the Apollo 1 capsule should be on public display.

What has caused some surprise is the comparison made between a tragic accident costing three lives with the attempted mass extermination of a race, the wholesale slaughter on the battlefields of WW1 and the horrors of the jungles of Vietnam. The two do not equate. In any case, the atmosphere generated by the simple names inscribed on a wall at the Menin Gate and at the Vietnam Memorial are enough. Neither need artifacts to make us 'never forget'.

NASA has said that the remains at some point in the future might be made available to researchers in museums. I have no problem with this. I did say that the most important aspect of all three losses was to learn the lessons. One does not need the remains to be on public display for this to happen. In any case, it still begs the question as to how the remains of this horrific accident can be displayed 'tastefully'.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-15-2010 09:42 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:
...nor the people to ask to get a reasoned answer
I'm sorry, but this implies that because the opinions expressed are opposite yours, they are not "reasoned." That is an unreasonable conclusion.
quote:
The two do not equate.
You are correct, the particulars about how the participants in each instance were killed are not equal. But that does not mean the lessons their artifacts can teach do not share some commonalities. In each case, there were choices made by multiple parties that led to the tragic loss of life. The artifacts that remain can and do inspire people to reconsider those decisions such that they are (hopefully) not repeated.
quote:
Neither need artifacts to make us 'never forget'.
And yet artifacts are on display and are consistently cited as imparting powerful and lasting impressions on their visitors.
quote:
In any case, it still begs the question as to how the remains of this horrific accident can be displayed 'tastefully'.
Debris from the space shuttle Columbia has been and remains displayed without being considered distasteful. Columbia's OEX MADS Recorder is on exhibit at the Johnson Space Center among other space program artifacts and a display including recovered pieces from the crew cabin toured each of the NASA centers.

Having seen both, I cannot imagine anyone describing either exhibit as "distasteful." Granted, neither was easy to look at without evoking emotions, but that is somewhat the point.

moorouge
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posted 10-15-2010 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I'm sorry, but this implies that because the opinions expressed are opposite yours, they are not "reasoned." That is an unreasonable conclusion.
You too miss the point Robert. What I meant was that it is only to be expected that 'space enthusiasts', especially those who contribute to cS, would be keen to have the capsule on display. Perhaps biased would have been a better choice of word. I never suggested nor meant their reasons were unreasonable. Just hard to understand but expected when taking into consideration their starting point.

I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. I'm still right about this.

There is a world of difference between a flight recorder on display and the burnt out remains of a whole capsule.

Perhaps it is worth remembering in this month of October that the French Government steadfastly refuse permission for archaeologists to excavate the field of Agincourt. Before someone jumps down my throat, let me agree that this is not similar to the Apollo 1 fire, but it is an example of a nation showing that 'never forget' can be achieved without artifacts from the event on display.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-15-2010 11:04 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 moorouge:
...steadfastly refuse permission for archaeologists to excavate the field of Agincourt.
At least some excavation seems to have been allowed... Granted this is the result of a quick Google search but Tim Sutherland with the Centre for Battlefield Archeology lists among his credentials, "an extensive archaeological survey of the Battle of Agincourt, involving an excavation of the official site of mass graves...".

But even if no excavation has been done, it would not negate the importance of artifacts as a teaching tool. There are countless more examples demonstrating the positive role of displaying artifacts associated with loss of life than there are those without.

mjanovec
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posted 10-15-2010 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by moorouge:
What I meant was that it is only to be expected that 'space enthusiasts', especially those who contribute to cS, would be keen to have the capsule on display. Perhaps biased would have been a better choice of word.

If the capsule is displayed in a museum that has a focus on space travel or the astronauts, then it's plausible that many who visit the museum would feel similarly to the "biased" space enthusiasts on this message board. In many respects, it makes the most sense to poll the target audience for the museum...as they are already knowledgeable about Apollo 1 and know many of the details associated with accident.

I firmly believe a decision on the display of the Apollo 1 capsule needs to be made soon. That way, there will be a chance to include the immediate families (the two surviving widows, the astronauts' children, and the astronauts siblings) on the plans to display the capsule...finding a way to tastefully display the capsule that will meet with the approval of the families. Ultimately, their opinion matters the most and they should be allowed a say in how the capsule is presented. If we wait too long, we risk losing these family members to the passage of time and won't know exactly how to best respect their wishes.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-15-2010 01:02 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 mjanovec:
Ultimately, their opinion matters the most...
While I agree that the family members' opinions should be taken into account, I disagree that they matter the most, unless the only purpose of the display is to serve as a memorial (and even then, it is arguable).

The families have a very specific point of view, one that may or may not allow them to separate the artifacts from the personal loss they experienced and place them into the larger historical context in which they belong.

As an example, reportedly members of the Grissom family objected to Liberty Bell 7 being raised from the ocean floor. Leaving the capsule where it was however, did not serve history's cause well. By recovering and restoring it, millions of people have been exposed to the history of that flight that might otherwise have never recalled or learned about it at all.

I agree that the families should be polled and their feelings taken into account. But I do not believe they should have the last say. The decision should be based on the input of all stakeholders, including historians, conservators, mission team members, the public and the families.

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

posted 10-15-2010 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
At least some excavation seems to have been allowed...
I think you'll find that it was the excavation of single graves NEAR the site of the mass grave at Agincourt.

FFrench
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From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-15-2010 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I found the analogy to the Titanic earlier in the thread interesting, and initially puzzled as to why there might be different feelings about objects being raised from the sea bed (to the objections of many, including Titanic's discoverer) compared to Apollo 1 being displayed.

I think it was well put earlier - Titanic and many other wrecks also sadly served as the final resting places of the crew and passengers.

This is not the case for Apollo 1, and may be why I know of a number of people who have negative feelings about recovered Titanic artifact displays, but support Apollo 1 being placed on display with the appropriate, careful and respectful context.

Regarding objectivity, I would imagine that forums such that this would be the first, not the last, place to raise questions of taste and appropriateness. Compared to the general public, people here feel a personal connection to the space program meaning anything ghoulish would be debated against much faster than the (comparatively uncaring) general republic. To see such a large number of thoughtful, carefully reasoned replies on the positive side of displaying is very interesting indeed to me.

history in miniature
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Posts: 456
From: Slatington, PA U.S.A.
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 10-15-2010 02:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for history in miniature   Click Here to Email history in miniature     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have thought long and hard about this, and I'm not sure I should even post my feelings.

We need to think of the surviving family members, and their feelings, as I find this akin to displaying an automobile after it's occupants were killed in a crash. Everyone is allowed his or her opinion as this is why this forum exists. Maybe the replica capsule from the Apollo 13 movie would be the best display.

I really feel that this decision should be best left to the family members of the astronauts, and not only in the concerns of the Apollo 1 display.

ilbasso
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From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 10-15-2010 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think a more apt modern-day comparison would be displays of wreckage from the World Trade Center after 9/11. Certainly many more people died in that inferno than in Apollo 1. Did museums get permission from all of the survivors' families before any WTC wreckage went on display?

One distinction between displaying Columbia's data recorder and displaying Apollo 1 is that with Columbia, you are not seeing the crew compartment, i.e., where the human beings were sitting when they died. I think it is a matter of good taste not to take the exhibit to that extent.

As a compromise, perhaps Apollo 1 could be displayed in such as way that the interior is not open to public view. The exhibit could be accompanied by photos of the interior that have already been widely published. Unfortunately, that would make difficult something else that would create a meaningful lessons-learned exhibit, i.e., a side-by-side comparison of the Apollo 1 hatch and one used on a subsequent flight.

tegwilym
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Posts: 2284
From: Renton, WA USA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 10-15-2010 02:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So what would Gus say about this?
If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life.
I think if we could ask him, he would probably say "Display it!" Space exploration isn't without hazards, danger and death. We have to remember that and display our failures as well as successes. Without the failures, we may never have landed on the moon... or created the ISS.

On my trips to KSC, I've always noticed that there really isn't a whole lot of mention of the Apollo 1/STS disasters other than a nice plaque, the wall, and mention of the accidents, but not a whole lot of in-depth description of what happened.

Titanic, Arizona, Auschwitz, Custer Battlefield, Normandy Beach, artifacts from 9/11 (even a small chunk of WTC is on Mars right now!), learn and never forget. Share the lessons of failure with successes.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 10-15-2010 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
I agree that the families should be polled and their feelings taken into account. But I do not believe they should have the last say. The decision should be based on the input of all stakeholders, including historians, conservators, mission team members, the public and the families.

I probably wasn't clear in my posting, as I wasn't suggesting that the family members have the last say regarding an Apollo 1 display. But I do believe that their wishes should be weighed a little more heavily than that of most other parties, as one runs the risk of creating a display that could open a lot of old wounds if done improperly.

If one can create a display that accomodates the desires of the families and ultimately has the support of the majority (if not all) of the family members, it will go a long way towards countering criticisms that the display is in poor taste.

robsouth
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Posts: 607
From: West Midlands, UK
Registered: Jun 2005

posted 10-15-2010 06:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My initial thoughts on this issue were to display it but as I’ve read some of the comments here it is not such a straight forward matter.

There are family members of the astronauts still alive so their views should bear some weight.

For my own part if it was displayed and I was to go and see it, it would be as a space artefact that I have read much about so I would be viewing it as something that played a part in a topic I am interested in. For others with only a passing interest in the subject, it could be just a gory attraction in a museum.

For anyone with an interest in space travel and the men that went into space, the Apollo 1 spacecraft would be something to look at and appreciate the full story so from that point I would say display it but it must be remembered that three men with families died a terrible death in that spacecraft and maybe from that stand point it shouldn’t be displayed. Maybe we are still too near the event for it to be considered as a museum piece yet, maybe when this generation has gone and men have walked on Mars then that would be a better time to display it.

Whatever is decided I think the main thing is for the spacecraft to be taken from where it is now and properly treated to prevent any further deterioration to its condition.

history in miniature
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From: Slatington, PA U.S.A.
Registered: Mar 2009

posted 10-15-2010 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for history in miniature   Click Here to Email history in miniature     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have one final emotion I must vocalize on this matter.

There are two events that galvanized my interest in space travel, Ed White's spacewalk and the Apollo 1 fire that took two other souls including Mr.White. Pure joy with the first event, and a complete and utter sadness with the second that is still with me to this day.

I continue to have difficulty looking at the capsule pictures without a feeling of utter sorrow.

Godspeed to all those who have given their lives to better our species in the endeavor of space travel.

astro-nut
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Posts: 512
From: washington, Illinois USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 10-17-2010 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I, too, would like to see the Apollo-1 capsule displayed honorably and with the utmost respect! It would honor Gus, Ed and Roger and their sacrifices and remind us that these three brave Americans paved the way for the successful moon landings America had! Thank you.

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

posted 10-17-2010 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just want to thank everyone for their input. We are working with the families in order to get wording for what the displays would read. The displays would also have to be read and approved by NASA.

Also as long as NASA still maintained ownership of the CM, the National Air and Space Museum would NOT have a say in the display. We just were in contact with NASA on Friday. So we are going to continue forward.

What we imagine is a long hallway with the CM at the end of the hallway in it's own display area. The room will be painted black, no music, and just an American Flag hanging. Theatre style lighting will illuminate the area.

There will be the normal air museum style baracades around it so that you can not touch it, and the hatch will be closed.

Story boards will be hung along the hallway that lead up to the CM to declutter the CM area, and make it more of a somber mood.

It will be many things. It will be a display that some gave all for the space program, a memorial to the fallen, and an important artifact. I guess it just depends on how you view it. I think that is the nice thing about our planned display, is that it is simply displayed and the CM will have the affect on you and nothing else.

We were also just in touch with the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH and it looks like the F-86 that will carry Gus's markings is a go. Does anyone have any idea what Gus's markings looked like on his F-86? We know he flew in the 4th FG.

Thanks for everything, and I will be keeping you guys up to date, and will continue reading the feelings posted here.

I'd really like to contact some of the Apollo era astronauts to ask them what their feelings are as well. So if any of you guys know one of them, or has any contact info for them, please pass it along. Thank you again.

hlbjr
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Posts: 321
From: Delray Beach Florida USA
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 10-17-2010 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hlbjr   Click Here to Email hlbjr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suggest contacting the Sabre Pilots Association.

My father flew F-86's in the Korean War with the 18th Fighter Wing. Each Fighter Wing had distinctive markings on the vertical tail. Gus's 4th Fighter Wing will have the yellow ID band on the vertical stabilizer as well as on the wing and fuselage.

Here is a nice excerpt from Gus's NASA biography which I hope is included in the display:

Less than one year later, Grissom was shipped out to Korea to complete one hundred combat missions with the 334th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. He ignored the tradition of naming a jet after one's wife or girlfriend and chose to fly his F-86 Sabre jet with the name "Scotty" boldly printed on it in honor of his son who had been born the year before.

Another code of conduct existed on the bus ride which transported pilots from the barracks to the flight line. Pilots who personally had been shot at by a MIG were allowed to sit. Those who had not yet experienced a real piece of the action were unworthy of a seat and forced to stand.

After only two missions, Gus took a seat on the bus. His first experience of being shot at came as a bit of a surprise. "I was flying along up there and it was kind of strange. For a moment I couldn't figure out what those little red things were going by. Then I realized I was being shot at."

Grissom "usually flew wing position in combat, to protect the flanks of other pilots and keep an eye open for any MIGs that might be coming across". He was proud to be able to say, "I never did get hit and neither did any of the leaders that I flew wing for".

After spending six months in Korea, Gus reached the one hundred combat missions mark. His request to fly twenty-five additional missions was denied and he was sent back to the states, having earned both the Air Medal with cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross during his tour of duty.


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