March 2, 1998
With a lot of fanfare and one gracefully aging old actor the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton is focusing on the nether regions with it’s newest exhibit, Destination Space. The actor, Jimmy Doohan, played Scotty on the original Star Trek TV series, and was in the area a few weeks ago to promote the opening. In an interview last year I asked Doohan (media player below) how long he’ll be playing Scotty. “Just as long as they let me!” was the enthusiastic reply. So what’s all the hoopla about?
“It brings space down to earth.” is the explanation provided by Kim Henson, Director of marketing and development for the center. “Destination Space is a traveling exhibit developed by Ohio’s Center for Science and Industry.” Henson told me. “ It’s a way to teach people about science in a fun way. Seeing how the astronauts live and work in space is one way and the artwork of Robert McAll is another. McAll has work hanging in the Smithsonian and has been hired by NASA to show what the future in space could be like.” Henson added.
I like getting behind the scenes, so I asked Henson how new technology is being used in the art of displaying high tech stuff to the public. “Well, needless to say, we use a lot of computers around here. From running the Imax theater to designing new exhibits. When our chief designer put together the Flight Gallery exhibit for example, the display space was laid out first by computer model.” Henson said. Ever get tired of working in front of a computer screen I wondered aloud. “Naah.” Henson told me. “I do a lot of work from my home computer. There’s so much possibility it’s exciting!” Or as Scotty would say, “Warp engines are ready Captain.”