2017 Speaker Series


Thursday May 4, 2017   7:00 – 8:30 PM

Saving Space Suits: Balancing Conservation and Display at the National Air and Space Museum

Speaker: Lisa Young, Objects Conservator

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of objects related to the history of spaceflight.  Objects such as spacecraft, spacesuits, personal items, scientific instrumentation, and satellites represent significant events in our Nation’s history. Many of these ephemeral objects are over 50 years of age and were built for one-time use.  When the objects were returned to Earth, they were not considered museum worthy- and were not preserved in a way that we would consider acceptable by today’s museum standards.  Decisions regarding conservation treatment of these objects is often challenging at best, and requires collaboration with a team of experts due to their fugitive nature, complex design and unique composition of modern materials.    Conservation practice for these objects has evolved since they were first acquired by the Museum and the evidence and preservation of past use is one of our highest priorities when it comes to preservation and treatment of spacesuits.  Therefore, much of our conservation methodology and practice leans toward comprehensive research, documentation, analysis and preventive care, including solutions for storage and display. This presentation will highlight a case study on the history, conservation and display of Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit since its acquisition to the Smithsonian in the early 1970s, its history of display and research over 40 years and its return to display following comprehensive research, digitization and treatment for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 in 2019.   

For information call: 410-586-8501

Location: MAC Lab meeting room

Cost: free

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