Watch the Smithsonian take apart the original Star Trek Enterprise

The museum is restoring the prop model from the 1966 television series. Get a close look in behind the scenes videos.

Fifty years ago, an 11-foot model of the USS Enterprise was constructed for the production of Star Trek: The Original Series. Today, it is lying in pieces. On purpose.

In 1974, Paramount donated the prop starship to the Smithsonian Air & Space museum. Over the years, the wooden nacelles and struts of the iconic design have begun to warp and buckle from earth's gravity. Adhesives lose their adhesiveness over time. So earlier this year, curator Margaret Weitekamp and chief conservator Malcolm Collum began a project to restore the model.

In a series of videos from Trek Core, you can get a fantastic up-close look at the famous spaceship. In the most recent, posted yesterday, conservator Ariel O'Connor explains why the restoration team is using "The Trouble with Tribbles" as a reference. The Enterprise underwent two alterations during production in the mid-'60s, to add electronics and lights, and in this beloved episode one can get a rare look at the interior of the struts.


In this video, Collum walks us through the ingeniously simplistic design of the model, which lies in pieces. Just two bolts hold that giant saucer up! Brilliant.


In this clip, we get a good peek at the guts of the model. Alas, there are not tiny little Red Shirts running around.

Watch the longer video that explains the origins and the goals of the project. Keep up the good work, Smithsonian!


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