I didn't take any because I was concerned with the effect of the flash on the artifact it. When I am at the Museum next Friday I'll ask my point of contact if I can take some photos and post them here.
I have to give credit to the staff at the Air and Space Museum. They are constantly working under very demanding schedules and take every imaginable effort to make sure that everything that goes on display is safe and ready. Like all major projects; building and filling the Udvar-Hazy Center was a gigantic one; things get accelerated and the worker bees have to jump through myriad hoops to finish the project. I, and others, have to good fortune to be able to get up close to many of the artifacts at the museum. We clean them -very carefully- and identify any problems that could cause deterioration and look for any parts that could be missing; screws, hoses, etc, small things that were easily overlooked when they were put on display. Money is any issue, as it is with most museums, so priorities have to be made and keeping things in good shape may be low on the totem pole. Someone came up with the idea of training volunteers that currently work at the museum on how to clean the artifacts and look for potential problems. On a personal level it gives all of us involved in the program a terrific sense of ownership.
If you ever get the chance look for a book by Colonel (Ret) Walter Boyne; The Aircraft Treasures Of Silver Hill. The book gives the history of the National Air and Space Museum and tells the story of how it came to be; how the artifacts were collected, how they were stored and most importantly, how they restored to their current condition. The details that the geniuses at the Smithsonian Institute adhere to are incredible and are explained in the book.
The artifacts in storage at Silver Hill are being moved to the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is a time-consuming process, to the Udvar-Hazy Restoration Hanger, so you can look down onto the hangar floor and see the people that make the museum what it is work on artifacts. I have heard that the next major project will Flak Bait, a Martin B-26 that flew the second highest number of missions in WWII. When it starts I will post photos of the progress.
There are about 12 volunteers trained to clean artifacts. I'm not sure if they plan to train any more. We are cleared to clean most of the artifacts but because of safety reasons we don't not get to any of the ones that are hanging and those such as the space shuttle that are quite high - the last thing they need is a 70 year old trying to get up onto one of those things. The folks in the photo that are cleaning are probably Smithsonian employees from the restoration group that are more nimble and better trained on working with the high visibility things like Discovery.
I called the Museum's public affairs office to make sure that I can post the photos. I haven't heard back, but if their response is positive, I'll post some. I'll be cleaning tomorrow and will try to remember and capture al of the markings.
The restoration staff started working on the jet powered Horton recently. Part of it is in pretty bad shape but the geniuses have their noses down close to the surfaces meticulously cleaning them. I have some photos and will upload them over the weekend.
This is my first attempt to add a photo to the site so I hope it works. The Horton is in pretty bad condition but I'll bet by the time restoration staff is finished with it event the Hortion brothers would applaud:
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