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The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has recently accepted into its collection a set of prosthetic ears made for Leonard Nimoy to portray Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek television series. Donated to the museum by Nimoy’s son Adam Nimoy, the ears will go on display in the new “Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery” opening late next year.
The pair of pointed, foam ear tips were made for the original Star Trek television series in the late 1960s. Leonard Nimoy brought the prosthetics home as a personal memento, where they were displayed by the family in a handmade black box beginning in 1969.
“We’re delighted that the Nimoy family chose to donate these iconic artifacts to the Smithsonian, where visitors from around the world will be able to enjoy them and connect with Leonard Nimoy’s work,” said Margaret Weitekamp, space history chair and curator of the museum’s social and cultural history of spaceflight collection, which includes the original 11-foot studio model of the starship “Enterprise” that appeared in each episode of the original series.
The donation also includes the handmade box the actor created to protect the delicate props; it will be displayed with the ears when the museum opens its series of new galleries in late 2022.
“Those ears have been in our family for over 50 years as a reminder of dad’s outstanding performances as Mr. Spock and the inspiration and hope that Spock and Star Trek have given to generations of fans all over this planet,” said Adam Nimoy. “It seems fitting that the ears should be now on display for all to see and experience firsthand. As a further tribute to my father, the ears are being donated on behalf of Beit T’Shuvah and the Leonard Nimoy COPD Research Fund at UCLA—two organizations supported by our family and dedicated to the Vulcan salutation of long life and prosperity.”
For more information about how the museum is transforming all of its exhibitions and revitalizing its Mall building, visit https://airandspace.si.edu/reimagining-air-and-space.
The National Air and Space Museum’s building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. and is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington Dulles International Airport, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, but there is a $15 parking fee for vehicles entering before 4 p.m. at the Udvar-Hazy Center.
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