A Forthcoming Museum Is Centered on a Restored ‘Star Trek’ Enterprise Bridge

Designers built four versions of the Enterprise-D’s bridge for 1987’s Star Trek: The Next Generation. The first was thoroughly destroyed during filming—after crash-landing on the surface of the uninhabited planet Veridian III. Of the three replicas, two featured in a now-defunct Las Vegas attraction and one was sent out on a global tour reaching Trekkies in Asia and Europe.

This third replica is the centerpiece of the Hollywood Sci-Fi World Museum, which is set to open to the public in Santa Monica, California, on May 27.

The restoration of Enterprise-D’s bridge has been a long and circuitous journey. After winding up in a Long Beach warehouse, the iconic set by production designers Michael Okuda and Herman Zimmerman was due to be destroyed in 2011. A fan-led campaign, the New Starship Foundation, saved it and began the task of funding its refurbishment.

Unlike the original wooden set, the replica is made from metal and fiberglass. Its paint was peeling, chairs were missing, and the team wanted the bridge to act as it did on television—an expensive goal.

Recreation of the Enterprise bridge from Star Trek: The Next Generation on view at “Star Trek – The Exhibition” at the Hollywood & Highland complex in Los Angeles, California, 2009. Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images.

A successful Kickstarter campaign—which, to date, has raised $200,000 from fans alone—together with celebrity boosting saw the plan for the bridge grow. Originally, the restoration team hoped to make it available for weddings, parties, and educational events. By 2014, it was to be at the center of a science fiction museum (the project lead’s 2018 arrest failed to dampen proceedings).

That dream has been realized. As sci-fi and fantasy actor Summer Glau put it on Sci-Fi World Museum’s introductory video: “Imagine a place where robots, spaceships, superheroes, and sets from the greatest sci-fi TV shows and movies can all be seen in one place.”

Located inside Sears Santa Monica, a former department store in the late modern style of the 1940s, the museum presents itself as the world’s first non-profit science fiction museum created by fans for fans.

In addition to Enterprise-D bridge, there will also be a replica bridge from Star Trek: The Original Series (previously housed in a Buena Park, California, wax museum).

Elsewhere in the sci-fi galaxy, the museum will showcase a hall of heroes (Christian Bale in Batman, Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator, Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad) and a hall of full-sized replica robots (potentially Dalek from Doctor Who, B9 from Lost in Space, T1000 Endoskeleton from Terminator).

The Sci-Fi World Museum will further boast full-sized props from Oblivion, a 2013 film starring Tom Cruise. Universal Studios has provided the Bubbleship and a drone from the film and the exhibit will be accompanied by cast and crew videos explaining how they were functioned while shooting.

As Glau put it, “Sci-Fi World [Museum] will be like Comic Con every day.”

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