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Why the Starship Enterprise Does Not Belong in the Smithsonian

Screenshot via CBS.

I understand that some of you who read this will be Star Trek fans. You may even call yourselves “Trekkies”, which is a silly word I have heard. I, on the other hand, have never seen an episode of Star Trek, unless you count an 11 PM showing of J.J. Abrams‘s 2009 reboot. I don’t count it, because I fell asleep.

Today I read, in the magazine I work for, that a replica of a spaceship (not even the real spaceship!) from Star Trek has been installed at the Smithsonian. This feels like a mistake. Then I read on to find out there is a person (a self-described Trekkie, no less) whose whole job it is to find pop-culture-y stuff to exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. This is basically a nonsense job, and I am jealous she found it before me.

Here are some reasons to exclude the Starship Enterprise from our national science museum:

1. It teaches us nothing about science. It is highly unlikely that this vessel is even space-worthy. It might even be anti-science. My husband just told me that the Starship Enterprise could go into warp drive, which even NASA thinks is most likely made up.

2. I think the exhibit is likely to attract the wrong element.

3. I personally hate it when venerable institutions try to be hip. This is far worse. This is a venerable institution massively miscalculating what is hip.

4. What does it say about us that we need a spoonful of Hollywood tie-in to make us interested in the fact that we actually, in real life, sent a real life human to the actual moon? Just take your medicine, people.

5. Small kids used to leave the museum dreaming of becoming astronauts, which was a noble if improbable dream. What’s it going to feel like to explain to little Sophie, that no matter how many STEM classes she takes, she’ll never be a Vulcan?

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Amanda joined Washingtonian in January 2016. She has written about Maryland brewery Flying Dog’s First Amendment fight, pored over Hillary Clinton’s emails, and come clean about owning too much stuff. She lives on H Street.