The original USS Enterprise filming model has resided at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. since Paramount donated it in 1974. Since that time, the eleven-foot model has undergone several renovations — causing a great deal of controversy in certain fan circles — as it’s been moved from wire suspension in the museum’s entry hall, to standalone exhibits in New York City, and then into storage for several years in the late 1990s.
In March 2000, the museum opened a newly-renovated gift shop located in a sub-level of the building, with the large Enterprise model as a centerpiece, protected in a large glass case in the center of the shop — and that’s where the model has resided for the last fifteen years, tucked away under the main exhibitions.
The National Air & Space Museum announced this week that as part of the museum’s fortieth anniversary in 2016, the Enterprise model will be one of several acquisitions moved to the popular Milestones of Flight exhibit which greets visitors at the main entrance to the building.
This 3.4 meter (11-foot) model of the fictional Starship Enterprise will go on display in the reimagined Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. ‘Star Trek’ pushed the boundaries of network television with its depiction of a mixed-sex, racially-integrated, multinational crew and its attention to contemporary social and political issues.
It will join other significant artifacts in this gallery to showcase the importance of popular culture’s influence on society.
It seems only fitting that this relocation of the Enterprise model will coincide with Star Trek’s fiftieth anniversary, as well as the release of the next entry in the Trek film series.