As vaccination efforts ramp up across the United States, vacations and trips are resuming all over the country. A good few of them are dedicated to the Smithsonian, and it turns out the branch has been gifted something from a galaxy far, far away. According to the museum, it has opened a Star Wars exhibit of sorts at the National Air and Space Museum that any fan will love.
The update comes from the Smithsonian Magazine as the latest issue covers the branch’s X-Wing arrival. Over in Virginia, the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar has welcomed an X-Wing courtesy of Lucasfilm. The Star Wars piece is being restored by professionals at the Restoration Hangar, and it plans to join the National Air and Space Museum late next year.
According to the report, the X-Wing will be put in the Albert Einstein Planetarium right on the National Mall. The craft in question was used in an actual Star Wars movie which Margaret Weitekamp confirmed in a recent statement.
“We are thrilled to have an X-Wing on exhibit,” Weitekamp, the space history chair at the museum, shared. “It is a real screen-used vehicle from the 2019 film Rise of Skywalker. This display speaks to that crossover connection between people who are excited about space flight and have been inspired by the visions Star Wars has been putting out since 1977.”
Of course, the museum’s staff is determined to keep the X-Wing authentic while restoring it for display. The prop is massive given its 37-feet span, and it was shipped in pieces. The staff is preserving the ship right now, but Weitekamps says they won’t be buffing the ship out. Any blaster scuffs on the hull are a feature, and the Smithsonian wants them to stay put.
“Star Wars is a lived-in universe,” Weitekamps explained. “This is a battle-scarred X-Wing fighter. We want to distinguish between any scratches that occurred during shipping versus something that was built into the vehicle.”
“I was on the floor looking at it and I pointed out a place where it looked like it had what pilot’s would call ‘hangar rash.’ That’s where you get scrape marks on the side of aircraft when they are moved around. I pointed it out to the conservator, who had a big smile and said, ‘No, that’s simulated. It’s part of the detail by the artist!’”
This is not the first time Star Wars has been welcomed to the Smithsonian, and fans are sure it will not be the last. If you want to check out more details about the Smithsonian’s current exhibits, you can learn about them here. This X-Wing will be fully installed by next year, and we’re sure its war-worn history will attract plenty of fans the world around.
What do you make of this latest Smithsonian exhibit? What other pieces of pop culture need to join the national museum? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.