Presentation on theme: "Dr. Margaret Weitekamp NASM Curator of Space History How Have We Imagined Other Worlds?"— Presentation transcript:
Dr. Margaret Weitekamp NASM Curator of Space History How Have We Imagined Other Worlds?
What kinds of questions do historians ask? And how do objects help us to answer those questions? Twin goals: Display part of the Museum’s collection of space-themed toys Think about what lessons the players draw about spaceflight worlds when they play Method: Sort collection for best examples Pull artifacts from storage and inspect for exhibitability Group artifacts into display groups based on research about each piece Think about the story the artifacts can tell when grouped together thus Write short labels that tell that story – and entice visitors’ reexamination Work with exhibit designer to arrange artifacts most effectively Installation: Bring together artifacts, printed labels, plex stands, and shelf layouts
Space-Themed Toys Fall Roughly into 4 Groups Parallels with another American genre, the Western: a hero with a gun, a sidekick, a best gal, a trusty steed (in this case, a spaceship), a home base (either a spaceship/space station or a fort) and a villain who is often non-white/alien (sometimes, in space adventures, rather literally) 1.Ray Guns 2.Spaceships 3.Playsets 4.Action Figures
The First Members of the Public Come by to Appreciate the New Case
What Do Toys Reveal About Space Science Fiction? Toys guides how players position themselves in space- themed stories – Carrying a ray gun means imagining oneself to be the hero – Playing with a playset or action figures means acting out space- themed scenes as the director of the action – Space-themed toys almost never suggested that the player take the point-of-view of the female lead or the villain Space-themed fiction reflects our world and how we see ourselves (or would like to see ourselves) more than an real ideas about other worlds