Courtesy of the one and only Doug Drexler comes this link to a blog maintained by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and a couple of features detailing the museum’s first restoration of the U.S.S. Enterprise filming model from the original Star Trek series.
The model was donated to the museum in March of 1974, and was in pretty poor shape. By July of that same year, however, the old girl had been returned to something approaching her former glory. It underwent a second minor restoration in August of 1984, the result of which was what I saw when I first laid eyes upon it in January of 1986 and took these pics:
There was another, more extensive restoration performed in 1991, soon after which the model was part of a long-running NASM Star Trek exhibit commemorating the original series. The model went into seclusion for a little while after that, but since the early 2000s has been on display in the museum gift shop’s lower level.
The blog entry features several photos from different points during the restoration. It’s neat stuff for old-school Trekkies (like me!) who love reading about behind-the-scenes aspects of the original series. There’s also an information page about the model’s history and its current display.
Many thanks to Doug for providing the heads-up!
Blog.SmithsonianMag.com: How Big is the Starship Enterprise?