The Queen Mary, docked next to the dome which once held Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, and in 2008, was home to “Star Trek: The Exhibition”….
For 22 years (off and on) “Star Trek: The Exhibition”, a traveling museum of Star Trek props, costumes, recreations and interactive displays, has quietly toured around the world; beginning in Mosney, Ireland in 1994 and ending in Shanghai, China in 2016. I was lucky enough (living in California) to have seen it on two separate occasions. The first (and
best) was in Long Beach, 2008, near the Queen Mary in the domed hangar that once housed Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” aquatic aircraft. The second, in 2010, was a much scaled-down version in my home city/county of Riverside ( not to be confused with Captain Kirk’s future birthplace of Riverside, Iowa).
Stardate: 02. 16. 2008…
Allow me to use my pictures and text to return to February 16th, 2008 for “Star Trek: The Exhibition” at Long Beach. To quote the Guardian of Forever,
“Let me be your gateway…”
Feb. 16th, 2008. Outside the Spruce Goose dome is, of course, the famed Queen Mary. My wife and I went here as part of our honeymoon years 9 earlier. If you see a kilt or two in the foreground, there was a Scottish bagpipe festival at the Queen Mary that same weekend. Not kidding.
We lucked into seeing the 2008 Star Trek Exhibition when a good friend of mine (whom I remember going to see “Star Trek: Generations” with, 13 years earlier) had an extra pair of free tickets which she graciously gave to my wife and I. Avoiding a horrific car crash en route to Long Beach (an aggressive tailgater who was following us hurriedly changed lanes and
plowed into right into the rear of a truck…no fatalities), we arrived a bit shaken, but ready to enjoy an immersive Star Trek experience…
The entrance to the Exhibition proudly displays the USS Enterprise…
It was interesting for me to be back in the Spruce Goose dome, since I hadn’t seen it since the 1980s, when my dad took us to see the fabled Goose itself. Now, the dome was a portal into the 24th century. I remember going through a fast-moving line (despite a sizable crowd) and immediately being greeted by a large rotating model of the USS Enterprise 1701-A, with a backlit main entranceway that glowed from red to green to blue. It
definitely set the mood…
From this point on, I’ll let my photos and captions do the rest…
The rotating model of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-A. It was built for the Exhibit, I believe. This was the first sight you saw as you entered the exhibit…
… and of course, I had to capture every angle, because I’m weird that way. The exhibit model of the famed starship is simply beautiful.
Now we get to some of the really interesting stuff. The captain’s chair of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-B, from “Star Trek: Generations” (1994). To the right of the chair is a costume from one of the “Breen”; an alien race mentioned in that film, but never actually seen until “Deep Space Nine”, where they played a significant role in that series’ Dominion War arc. In the background (and I couldn’t get any closer) is the “solar probe” torpedo that was also used (and later un-used, after history was changed) by the mad Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell) in “Generations.”
A much better look at the dark teal captain’s chair of the USS Enterprise-B from “Generations.” Love the color, and I love the movie, despite the lack of fan love it receives online. I’ve long held a sentimental attachment to “Generations” as I happened to see it during a very challenging year in my life, and I found it to be oddly cathartic. The friend from work with whom I went to see the movie is also the same friend who gave us the free tickets to this exhibit, 13 years later. Special shoutout to my old friend, Reg ( to quote Spock, you have been, and always shall be my friend…).
Also from “Generations”; the actual saucer model (much scaled up) for the spectacular saucer separation/crash sequence in the movie. It’s much bigger in person than it appears in this photo, I assure you; nearly twice my own height, at least. The crash sequence is a spectacular piece of special effects miniature work that is still impressive and 100% photorealistic today, 25 years later. Behind and to the right, you can also see 22nd century-style torpedoes from the 2001-2005 Star Trek TV series, “Enterprise.” ENT is a very underrated chapter in Star Trek’s 53 year history, in my humble opinion…
The wall of Star Trek shuttlecraft; these were all actual miniatures used in various Star Trek television and movie productions. Up top and center is the ‘travel pod’ used in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979), as well as “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982) and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986). Below, center, is the large scale miniature of the shuttlecraft “Copernicus” from “Star Trek: V: The Final Frontier” (1989). That ‘miniature’ is about 5 ft/1.5 m. in length. On the walls, you’ll see various shuttles from “The Next Generation” (TNG) and “Voyager” (VGR) which included the “Sakharov” (named after the famed Russian physicist/dissident), the shuttle “El Baz” from TNG’s “Time Squared” (named after the invaluable Apollo-era lunar geologist Farouk El Baz) and a few others.
Closeup of the shuttlecraft “Copernicus” from “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989). While the film is not one of my favorites, I admired its extensive use of shuttlecraft in the storytelling, as it gave the space travel sequences more of a ‘you-are-there’ feel than if the characters had simply been beamed from one place to another via the famed transporter.
The travel pod, as first scene in the gorgeous ‘Enterprise-in-drydock’ sequence near the beginning of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979). I love TMP as well (despite the considerable critical backlash), as it’s one of only a few Star Trek movies with a genuine science fiction premise. I also loved the film’s heavy use of then state-of-the-art miniature special effects work. It was the first time that I, as a Star Trek fan, first saw the USS Enterprise so fully captured in loving detail on film. It made the ship feel like a real place, and the travel pod was key to that feeling as we saw the tiny vessel dock along the Enterprise’s port side. Turns out the ‘tiny’ vessel was actually quite big in the real world. The miniature pod was shorter than the aforementioned “Copernicus”, but somewhat taller.
A wall of screen-used miniature starships! Most of the vessels are from TNG, but have been used in other Trek series/movies as well. There’s a warm-hued Cardassian vessel on the far left (displayed upside down, I believe). Above it, top left, is the Kataan probe from TNG’s “The Inner Light”, to the right of the probe is a Nebula-class starship (first seen in TNG’s “The Wounded,” and in many other iterations of Star Trek, including “Generations”), and below the Nebula-class is a TNG-era Klingon flagship (first seen in TNG’s “Reunion” and later reused in the Klingon Civil war two-parter “Redemption”). Center top is Picard’s old vessel, the USS Stargazer from TNG’s “The Battle” (later reused as the USS Hathaway in TNG season 2’s “Peak Performance”), below it is a Terallian (?) starship model (often used as other ‘generic’ vessels). Top left is the freighter Battris, from TNG’s “Heart of Glory” and below it is the inter-dimensional “Edo God” ship from TNG’s “Justice.”
The USS Excelsior NCC-2000 model, first seen in “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock” (1984) and used in many other Star Trek films and television series. She was fitted with a smaller bridge module (this current configuration) for “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” (1991), when she was under the command of Captain Hikaru Sulu (George Takei). Under various names and fittings, she also appeared in many TNG and Deep Space Nine (DS9) episodes, and even returned as the USS Excelsior again, in the VGR episode, “Flashback.” The ship also appeared as the USS Enterprise-B in “Generations” (with some modifications, not seen in this version of the miniature). This actual shooting model was somewhat smaller than I’d imagined, roughly 4 ft. (1.2 m) or so in length. The Nebula-class and Stargazer models above it seemed much bigger and more detailed, in fact… and those two were made for 1990s TV, which lacked the resolution of feature films (or of HDTV today).
Screen-used costumes from The Original Series (TOS) of “Star Trek” (1966-1969). These are the uniforms of Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Dr. McCoy (De Forest Kelley). It always amazes me how svelte those actors were in real life to fit so comfortably in these costumes…! These costumes were designed by the late talented TOS costume designer William Ware Theiss.
TOS screen-used costumes of Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). I was amazed at how these costumes had retained their vibrant color, considering that they were 40 or so years old at the time I took these pictures.
The screen-used costumes of “Khan Noonian Singh” (Ricardo Montalban) and “Admiral James T. Kirk” (William Shatner) from “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan” (1982). TWOK is widely hailed as one of the greatest Star Trek movies ever made, and arguably one of the greatest sequels to any movie ever made. It revitalized the franchise and arguably led to Star Trek’s continued movie (and eventual renewed television) success as well. The excessive wear to Khan’s costume was, of course, intentional as it was meant to reflect Khan’s harsh life in exile on the barren world of Ceti Alpha V. These costumes were designed by Robert Fletcher.
From Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); the engineering radiation suit worn by Commander Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) and the admiral’s uniform worn by William Shatner’s James T. Kirk early in the film (before his self-demotion to captain). The engineering uniform was worn again in “The Search For Spock” (1984), as well as “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). The TMP costumes were also designed by Robert Fletcher.
On the right; a TOS Klingon officer’s uniform, before their reimagined appearance in later versions of Star Trek. On the left is the 22nd century Starfleet coverall uniform worn by Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) in the underrated series ENT. The Klingon original costume was designed by William Ware Theiss. The ENT uniforms were designed by Robert Blackman.
From TOS: Spock’s biohazard suit from “The Naked Time”, and the costume of the murderous android ‘Ruk’ (played by “The Addams Family” costar Ted Cassidy) from the episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” Ted Cassidy was also the voice of the puppet version of “Balok” in TOS’ “The Corbomite Maneuver.” Both designed by William Ware Theiss.
Left to right: Captain Kirk’s duty uniform from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” as well as a Klingon warrior costume from the same era (the TMP Klingon uniforms were used throughout Star Trek). Standing alongside the Klingon uniform is the large walking stick-tusk used by Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner) in “The Undiscovered Country” (1999). Further right we see Spock’s uniform from “The Wrath of Khan” (1982), which he wore through “The Undiscovered Country” (1991). On the far right is one of the catsuits worn by “Seven Of Nine” (Jeri Ryan) in the last 4 seasons of VGR. If you looked very closely at the necklines (not visible in these photos) you could see faint makeup stains on the otherwise white collar of Spock’s uniform. Most of these costumes were designed by Robert Fletcher. Seven’s costume was designed by Robert Blackman.
The “Guardian of Forever” recreation from the classic TOS episode “The City on the Edge of Forever” (written by Harlan Ellison, though extensively rewritten without his consent; Ellison’s original version is quite eloquent, and is available as an IDW graphic novel). Both my wife and I both posed with the Guardian, but this my ‘human-free’ shot I chose for this article.
A replica of the TOS bridge; these are the same pieces that are now seen at the famed annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas. I’m glad to have captured real people (and a couple of eager kids) in this shot, as it gave a good sense of the scale of the set (as well as the differences) when compared to the original TOS bridge (below, from TOS “This Side of Paradise”/courtesy Trekcore.com).
I took these closeups during my own walk-thru of the set. I had to stop over at Spock’s science station, as well as Uhura’s communications console, of course (Spock was always my favorite character…still is). The set isn’t 100% screen accurate, of course (unlike New York’s Ticonderoga Star Trek Tours), but it’s as close as I’ve yet come to walking on the ‘real thing’.
Nice closeup of the TOS bridge helm/navigation console. Once again, for an approximation, this sure felt like the genuine article…
Loved this “Yesterday’s Enterprise”-style lighting scheme on the recreated TNG bridge set. This was how the set appeared right before the tourists walked onto it, when the main lights were turned off. Personally, I’ve always liked the darker, moodier incarnations of the TNG bridge set (maybe another reason “Generations” appealed to me so much…).
A screen-worn uniform worn by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) stands in a recreation of Picard’s quarters from TNG. There were lot of little screen-used props and details scattered throughout the set. It felt almost exactly as one might imagine a tour of the real sets on the Paramount lot be look like, circa 1988 or so.
Pieces of recreated corridor from TNG; I’m honestly not sure if some of the pieces (such as the wall maps) were authentic screen-used pieces or not. Having seen real screen-used sections of actual TNG sets at the (sadly) now-defunct Galaxy Museum in Hollywood around 1995, I’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference. One of the things that stood out during my tour of the real sets at the Galaxy Museum were the in-jokes planted throughout, such as tiny lyrics to the Gilligan’s Island theme written on a door panel, and a giant duck on the ship’s engineering diagram. I don’t recall ever seeing any of those in this tour, so I’m assuming (?) they were recreations (and if so, very good recreations). However, it’s entirely possible that these were at least some real pieces.
A dramatically lit recreation of the Enterprise-D’s engine room from TNG. The foreground workstation and corridor was real, but the engine core itself was a two-dimensional backlit transparency. However, if one took a pic without flash and at just the right angle, it could pass for the real thing (as I attempted to do with this shot).
My indulging wife is about to be ‘beamed out’ of the Enterprise-D’s transporter room. She wasn’t as into all of this as I was, as she’s more a casual Trek fan, but she was certainly a good sport about it. We could’ve paid extra to make a digitized photo of us ‘beaming down’ but we chose not to at that time. Although we did make a video of us beaming away in a transporter mockup at the 2016 Star Trek Vegas convention…
There was a timeline of all of the Star Trek TV series and movies along the dome/rotunda walls, as well as more artifacts under glass in individual displays, too (you can see a Ferengi makeup piece clearly visible). Wherever you looked, you were literally surrounded by Star Trek in all directions within the Spruce Goose dome. I hadn’t seen anything quite like this since the now-defunct “Star Trek Experience” at the Vegas Hilton: https://musingsofamiddleagedgeek.blog/2019/05/08/star-trek-the-experience-1998-2008-at-the-las-vegas-hilton-surely-the-best-of-times/
Star Trek pieces on display under glass. Counterclockwise from top; a Tribble (DS9’s “Trials and Tribble-ations”), next to a TOS phaser rifle (“Where No Man Has Gone Before”), a TOS-era electronic pad device (also from DS9’s “Trials and Tribble-ations”), an earlier version of Worf’s Klingon sash (TNG), McCoy’s medical scanner (TOS) and an Andorian headpiece from ENT.
From the 2002 feature film “Star Trek: Nemesis”: Pieces of the android “B-4”, a virtual twin of android Ops officer Commander Data (Brent Spiner). The pieces include a detailed, articulated arm, a forearm (back) and a very lifelike recreation of actor Brent Spiner’s head. I wish my photo captured the face’s level of detail…
A mannequin of a cybernetic Borg rests in an alcove during its ‘regeneration cycle’. It was a little eerie. It almost appeared to move a little under the complex, alternating lighting scheme.
Picard’s ‘little ships’ from the 1996 feature film “First Contact.” These various starships Enterprise were seen behind glass in the observation lounge of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E. This model is of the TOS-era USS Enterprise (“No bloody A, B, C or D” as Scotty sarcastically notes in the TNG episode “Relics”).
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A model from Picard’s observation lounge in “First Contact.” The 1701-A was first scene in 1986’s “The Voyage Home”, although it was just a reuse of the original Enterprise miniature from “The Motion Picture.”
Picard’s observation lounge model of the USS Enterprise-B, as seen in the 1994 movie “Generations”, commanded by Captain John Harriman (Alan Ruck from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”). Even though the Enterprise-B was a redress of the USS Excelsior model, I’ve always liked the extra ‘bulk’ of the Enterprise-B modifications, as they gave the slimmer Excelsior model a bit more of a regal bearing.
The shuttlecraft simulators. There were two of these, which we saw rocking violently on gimbals from the outside. My poor wife is prone to motion sickness, so we didn’t do this ride.
This was an interesting little ‘starship adventure’ film made solely for the Exhibit; it featured the Starship USS Titan (seen rising from a plume of steam). The four-minute short film that accompanied it featured Lt. Wesley Crusher (TNG’s Wil Wheaton) and Commander Tuvok (VGR’s Tim Russ) now serving about the Titan, under the command of an unseen William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes).
This was an interesting little ‘starship adventure’ made solely for the Exhibit that featured the USS Titan. The four-minute short film featured Lt. Wesley Crusher (TNG’s Wil Wheaton) and Commander Tuvok (VGR’s Tim Russ) serving about this ship, under the command of an unseen William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes). The film was shown on multiple screens, showing both charactors at once. The 4-minute story dealt with the two officers trying to avert an engineering disaster aboard the ship. It was kind of like seeing a mini-Star Trek episode on the tour as well.
Finally stopping for a snack at Quark’s cafe. Luckily, they included some 21st century food items on the menu to chow on as well. Not nearly as grand as the Quark’s bar & grill at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, the Exhibition’s scaled down version did the trick of filling stomachs of hungry Star Trek fans at the end of a delightful tour…
all of my pics from Star Trek: The Exhibition: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18703657@N03/albums/72157640467052415
Downtown Riverside, California…no, not Riverside, Iowa (the future birthplace of James T. Kirk).
Two and a half years later, the Star Trek Exhibition came to downtown Riverside, California, which was only 20 or so minutes from my house. Of course I went for a second time, though the much-smaller venue meant that a fraction of the pieces and sets seen in Long Beach would be on display, and for some strange reason, photos weren’t allowed. Nevertheless, I went because, well…
Star Trek. The interior of the scaled-down Exhibit was like a broom closet compared to the Spruce Goose dome of the Long Beach version, but I was surprised at how much they did manage to stuff into the Riverside version, including many of the uniforms, and even the Enterprise D’s engine room set.
Screenwriter/author/producer David Gerrold (“Star Trek” “Land of the Lost” “The Martian Child”) giving a rooftop talk during a warm, mid-September day back in 2010.
The highlight of the Riverside Star Trek Exhibition wasn’t seeing the same items I’d seen two years earlier…. it was the chance to meet and listen to the man who gave the world “tribbles”, author/screenwriter
David Gerrold (TOS’ “Trouble With Tribbles”, “The Cloud Minders”, and the “War Against the Chtorr” book series, as well as the autobiographical “The Martian Child”, later made into a 2007 film starring John Cusack). I brought my copy of the coffee table book, “Star Trek: Where No One Has Gone Before” (which has a ridiculous collection of autographs now, including the late Leonard Nimoy’s) which Gerrold later autographed and even drew a little tribble next to his name, since he was jokingly irked the the book had no images from “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Before the signing at the Exhibition, Gerrold gave a talk and Q&A on the nearby Riverside City Hall rooftop. Gerrold spoke very frankly about the reasons why he left “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in its early stages, one of which involved a failure to honor an agreement to tackle a topical AIDS allegory script Gerrold wrote called “Blood and Fire” (later done as an episode of the Star Trek web series, “New Voyages/Phase II”, with Gerrold directing as well). Gerrold also talked about the origin of his “Chtorr” novels (which I’ve not read) as well as the stories behind his book “The Martian Child”, which chronicled his experiences as a single adoptive parent raising a traumatized son. I was glad to have met this intelligent and thoughtful man. Meeting David Gerrold turned the ‘broom closet’ version of the Riverside “Star Trek Exhibition” into a treasured memory.
“Star Trek: The Exhibition” was (off and on) the single longest running Star Trek exhibit to date. While not quite the immersive experience of the defunct “Star Trek Experience” at the Las Vegas Hilton (1998-2008), “The Exhibition” arguably had more in the way of smaller treasures to be savored and admired. If any fellow Trekkies reading this article saw “Star Trek: The Exhibition” in their own city/town, I’d love to read about your own experiences in the comments below. For those Trekkies who never got to see this traveling Trek museum, I do hope this article & photos gives some sense of what it was like.
Live long and prosper!