Original USS Enterprise Model From ‘Star Trek’ Going Back On Display At Smithsonian In October

An important piece of Star Trek history is returning to display in Washington DC for the first time in years as the Smithsonian has been renovating the Air and Space Museum. We have the details on the return of the original USS Enterprise.

The return of a legend

Star Trek: The Original Series used ground-breaking visual effects techniques to create the iconic space scenes featuring the USS Enterprise. The centerpiece of this work was an 11-foot-long model of Enterprise and in 1974 Paramount donated it to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum where it has been on display in various locations over the decades with its latest display put up following a significant conservation project on the model in 2016.

Restored USS Enterprise on display at the National Air and Space Museum

In 2019 the model was taken off display as part of the museum’s larger renovation. While the full renovation will not be completed until later this year, the museum has announced that the Enterprise will be back on display earlier than expected. According to a spokesperson for the museum, the filming model display will be available to the public starting on October 14 as part of the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. According to the museum, the USS Enterprise model will be in the south lobby and will be displayed very similarly as it was before, including the same case.

You can learn more about the model at the museum at airandspace.si.edu. And the video below (featuring a brief glimpse of Mr. Spock) promotes the return of the museum this fall.

According to the museum, the ship is still in good condition in storage during the museum’s renovation and has not required any additional work. The video below shows some of the work done for the 2016 restoration of the model.

For more about the museum, visit airandspace.si.edu.


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Nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the Smithsonian. While we are making pitches for museums, seeing the Saturn V display at the KSC is a bucket list trip, as well.

I saw the Saturn V display at KSC back in 1999. It was life changing and I still recall the feelings I had after going through their presentation/Moon launch recreation, and seeing the Saturn V for the first time. It’s life changing.

I must have seen the this ship hundreds of times in the Smithsonian, but I was never able to touch it.

Nice use of a quote!

It is! My wife and I went to KSC during our honeymoon. The displayed sections of the Saturn V are breathtaking.

And of course the original Enterprise miniature at the Smithsonian is deeply stirring. I wish I could visit both more often.

KSC now also has the excellent Space Shuttle Atlantis museum. Well worth a side trip if you’re going to Disney/Orlando.

I adored how lovingly the ship was restored during the 2016 work; it was clear that everyone involved wanted the ship to be perfect. It’s nice to know that she’ll be on display again!

My God she’s beautiful… I could never go see her in person, though…. I’d be a wreck of emotions.

I saw it twice. Once pre-restoration when it was relegated to the basement gift shop. And then again after the restoration when she had a more prominent display on the main level. She is more beautiful in person than in pictures. The NCC-1701: no bloody A, B, C, D, or whatever we call the version from SNW (which I really like, but doesn’t quite evoke the same awe in me as the original)

She IS gorgeous! Gene Roddenberry and Matt Jeffries did a great job in coming up with such a lovely ship.

So fitting it rests there. Saw it once in person. Thrilling, gave me chills.

WOW – just amazing. ST fan and model builder myself as old as this model. I hope in another 50yrs I can still see her looking this good. I won’t, but hopefully ole 1701 prime will! 1701-‘D’ is stored in Paramount’s ‘ST’ warehouse unseen. Be nice to see her too alongside 1701 prime. Thank you and job well done(!) to the preservationists and Smithsonian!

As ice as the tv ship is, I’m wishing/hoping the movie TMP Enterprise would get donated and displayed at the Smithsonian. It would make a nice companion piece to the tv model.

Amen, Joe, Amen! I LOVE the refit too!

I wish that a Star Trek museum would have been considered a viable business venture 20 years ago. Partly that’s because at the time of the first big auction I didn’t have much disposable income, but mostly it’s just because while I know the fans who own the props and costumes love them and treat them well, having a central museum we can all enjoy every few years would be such a delight.

Yes to that. When I heard it was in the lobby of some business in Seattle I vowed to just walk in the next time I found myself up there. But yes… Placing them side by side at the Smithsonian seems like the appropriate thing to do. If only those who own it would agree…

All I ask for is a tall ship and a star to steer her by. What a beautiful work of art and imagination! I don’t know if it’s the golden ratio but those lines just catch the eye

This is great news. I first saw it suspended from the ceiling in the NASM during my first trip to the US in 1986 and then gain in 2010 when it was in a Perspex case in the basement gift shop. I’ll be in DC in Late October so look forward to seeing it again in all its restored glory.

Would be really neat to see this some day.

The Disco/SNW Enterprise is the best case scenario for a redesigned Enterprise, it’s a solid design and has been well rendered on the show. But IMO the Enterprise, on the outside at least, should have just looked like the Enterprise. This design is iconic.

Amen to that.

While 1701-D will always be my favorite Enterprise, I can’t deny the classic silhouette and simplicity of the original. She’ll always be the most iconic.