Sun. Feb 5th, 2023

Our journey through the academy, Star Trek history, and “artifacts” (not “props”!). Shot and edited by Jennifer Hahn.

New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, here in sweltering New York City, has a new Star Trek exhibit until the end of October: the Starfleet Academy Experience.

As a cadet at the academy, a wide variety of interactive exhibits allow you to diagnose injured Klingons in the infirmary, set phasers to stun in security, investigate the unknown at the science station, and more. After completing and logging into each interactive section with your RFID wristband, all Starfleet cadets must take the Kobayashi Maru test from the bridge of the Enterprise. At the end of your training, the system tells you which part of Starfleet you would be best in: are you captain material, or would you be better off as the next Mr. Spock? I’ve learned that I’m not really cut out for security because phasers are actually hard to target. Pistol-shaped weapons prove to be much easier!

Since it is child-oriented, the academy part is not too complex or complicated. For parents, the exhibit’s various historical artifacts will probably be of most interest. The show’s props and costumes are a window into how technology has evolved from (ugh) Company to the unjustly maligned Traveler. I know it had some lousy episodes, but come on, as a starship, the Intrepid-class Voyager was by far the coolest of the main ships: it had a sports car style and the ability to land on planets in a starship doesn’t beat the pants to beam down or ride a shuttle.

Speaking of shuttle craft, they are the biggest props of all, and one of them is on display at the museum. On the flight deck of the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier that gives the museum its name, much to the chagrin of my Houston friends, is the space shuttle Enterprise. The Enterprise has an important link with Star Trek, as the name was chosen after a sign-up campaign by fans of the show. Temporarily parked next to the Enterprise is the Star Trek shuttlecraft Galileo, lovingly restored a few years ago after decades of abandonment and weather exposure.

There is of course also the necessary gift shop, where you can buy tribbles and other goodies.

The Intrepid Museum is fascinating and worth a visit for almost everyone. Memorabilia aside, the Starfleet Academy Experience is a little light on adult content, but if you have kids you’re getting acquainted with Star Trek— and really, why else would you have kids? – it’s a fun way to get the Star Trek universe to life.

Our previous tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit by curator Eric Boehm, where we talked about the shuttle’s naming as a result of a sign-up campaign by Star Trek fans.

Frame image by Jennifer Hahn

By akfire1

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