The Smithsonian has had a screen-used model of the Star Trek Enterprise for more than 40 years, and now the famed museum is pulling it out of the basement and putting it out on full display. With a few upgrades, of course.
Paramount donated the ship model to the Smithsonian back in 1974, long before the short-lived television series became a full-blown cultural touchstone. So the Smithsonian let it languish, placing it in a basement gift shop. But, with the model starting to break down due to age (sagging nacelles, peeling paint, etc.), the museum staged a full-scale restoration to get the craft back to full working order.
Museum conservator Malcolm Collum told The Washington Post they were initially concerned the model could’ve “catastrophically fallen apart” during the renovation, but thankfully the Enterprise is a tough old bird and came through unscathed. As part of the restoration, the Smithsonian team targeted the look of the ship from the “Trouble With Tribbles” episode, which was the last major modification to the model.
The finished product looks fantastic. They repainted the old decals that had faded or fallen off, matched the paint to the original paint (which is a little more green than you’d think) and upgraded lights that are less of a fire hazard than the old ones that notoriously ran hot.
If you’re in the neighborhood of the Smithsonian, feel free to drop by and give it a look. Action figures not included.