New space exhibit falls far below expectations

December 20, 2019

The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum has recently introduced a new temporary exhibit. The new spectacle, “Space: A New Generation,” was introduced to the public on Nov. 19, 2019 and has been set to close on Jan. 5, 2020. The display is described as a look into NASA’s plans of returning to the moon and for preparations to journey to Mars. While the exhibit did display some intriguing sites and activities, the majority of the exhibit did not meet the high expectations set by the museum.  

The exterior of the exhibit looked promising; it was simple besides a banner thanking its donors, and the entrance was dark. Although, upon entering, it was clear that the description of what was offered at the event had been severely exaggerated. The “hands on activities” were only small little mini games where one might pull a lever or press a button in order to create light, similar to activities you could find in a science classroom. They were not extraordinary in the least. The ability to “test your skills at launching a space shuttle into orbit and trying to pilot the shuttle through space” was also not available. The room only contained uninteresting activities and two posters which included information about Mars, the Earth’s orbit and jobs and plans presented by NASA. Only two devices were present that offered information in the form of video. 

The very small, dark blue room where these activities were held was barely decorated besides some Star Trek and other space memorabilia, along with a few space suits along the walls. There were no lights inside the exhibit and no music which resulted in a quiet and boring atmosphere. No stars or planets were on the walls or ceiling. The room was bland and uninteresting and resembled nothing of space.  

The space exhibit continued down a hallway, but no signs directed towards it. Had you not been looking for it, you would not have been aware of its existence.  

The continued section was much more intriguing than the first. More video information was present in place of words, the games were much livelier and more interactive including information about black holes and real space shuttles and equipment were available for viewing. One space craft was open, and the interior was exposed. An enclosed living room displayed what a real Nebraska home would’ve looked like in the 1960s during the famous moon landing. Not only that, but a control panel resembling one used by NASA communications was available for viewing, too. 

While the second half of the new space exhibit was much more satisfying and interactive than the first, it still had a few problems. This exhibit did not have its own designated space as it overlapped with a room full of U.S. military air crafts. The room looked as though it had been put together with very little thought and felt very disconnected from the first half of the exhibit. 

Both exhibits averaged a time of 10 to 15 minutes to complete every activity and see all the displays because they were very small. 

Overall, the exhibit did not meet the expectations it was meant to. The activities and experiences offered were blown out of proportion by the museum’s website and the event description online. The exhibit as a whole was disorganized. It was never stated that the exhibit would be divided into two separated segments. Not only was the prospect of a separated exhibit never mentioned, but the two segments did not correspond to each other or stick to the overall theme of “a look into NASA’s future.” As a whole, the limited time display was dissatisfying and unattractive. The exhibit is said to have more work done in the future, so hopefully it will become more appealing and focused as time goes on. 

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