• Eric Long / Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

    Original USS Enterprise prop restored to its former glory

    Daniel Cooper
    Daniel Cooper

    There's probably enough material about the tragic afterlives of the USS Enterprise models to fill a small book, at least. Until two years ago, the 1701 prop used for Star Trek (1966) had been left hanging in the Smithsonian's basement gift shop. Now, to celebrate the museum's 40th anniversary, the model has been restored as an exhibit in the Boeing Milestones of Flight hall, which opens Friday. A team, led by the museum's chief conservator Malcolm Collum, collaborated with fans and Industrial Light and Magic to restore the model to its former glories. After all, a 50-year-old prop from a '60s TV show was never designed to last this long.