By the way, I see that there's presently a Transformers exhibit [http://airandspace.si.edu/exhibition...ansformers.cfm
]. While that may be appealing or inspirational to current generations, and provide a draw, does that mean that Transformers should remain a permanent part of the museum?
I don't think that's a valid comparison. The historical context is very different. Star Trek
came along at the cusp of the space age. It ended just a month and a half before humans first set foot on the Moon. While there had been at least two prior SFTV shows that had made some effort at scientific accuracy -- Tom Corbett, Space Cadet
from 1950-55 and Men into Space
from 1959-60 -- Star Trek
was the only SFTV show to portray spaceflight in an intelligent and non-cartoony way during the period when crewed spaceflight was becoming a reality. And that put it in a unique and important position, enabling it to resonate and synergize with the real space program in a way that no prior or subsequent SF franchise could match.
I'd like to clarify my remarks, just so there's no danger of us talking past each other.
I've neither made nor implied a comparison between Star Trek
and Transformers or any other franchise. Rather, I've addressed the question of criteria by which either franchise, both, or any other should have their artifacts exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum. Whether artifacts of a franchise should be exhibited at the museum is best determined by evaluating the franchise against the mission of the museum, not by comparing franchises against each other.
Furthermore, as the curators of NASM have already deemed Transformers worthy of an exhibit at the museum, however temporary or permanent, a determination that exhibiting artifacts from that franchise is consistent with their mission, as they see it, has already been made.
The main issue I've addressed is: What is the mission of the museum? If—hypothetically—the mission of the museum includes reaching out to people who find that SF franchises besides Star Trek
resonate better to them today,
then in that case that's what the mission is.