America’s Hangar (DVD Review)8 Feb, 2009 By: John Latchem
Prebook 2/10/09; Street 3/17/09
Stepping through the main hall of the National Air and Space Museum at The Mall in Washington D.C., one can’t help but be awed by the snapshot of human accomplishment in that one room, from machines that launched the era of powered flight in 1903, to vessels that took mankind to the moon less than 70 years later, and beyond.
America’s Hangar takes viewers through the different hallways of the main museum, but also the larger Udvar-Hazy annex at Dulles Airport. It also takes us places we don’t usually get to see, such as a complex in Maryland where planes and artifacts are preserved and restored.
The show traces the history of the museum from a small wing of the Smithsonian in the early 20th century that was made into a separate branch in 1946 after curator Paul E. Garber had amassed a sizeable collection of vintage aircraft. It’s now among the most-visited museums in the world.
Such legendary aircraft on display there include the Wright flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mercury capsule and the Apollo 11 capsule.
Larger ships at Udvar-Hazy, which will be featured in this summer’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, include the Space Shuttle Enterprise and an SR-71 Blackbird.
As America’s Hangar so rightly tells us, “the memories housed here are touchstones for events large and small that resonate in our individual lives”
The program provides a great overview of what to expect from a visit to the museum, but it’s just not quite the same as being there.