Smithsonian Institute Has a Screened Past

SmithsonianNot many people know that the Smithsonian Institute has an incognito, screened past. In fact, few may be in the know about the most recent movie that was shot at the distinguished Smithsonian Institute National Air and Space Museum. They may know about such past hits as The Day the Earth Stood Still from 1951 that featured the Smithsonian Castle. Many may have appreciated the fact that the foundation is home to many treasured movie mementos, including Katherine Hepburn’s four Academy Awards, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and not to be forgotten, iconic Miss Piggy. The masses have only had a taste of what the federation has to offer with their latest endeavor, the movie Dancing the Dream, which premiered on October 4, 2013, and will run until July 13, 2014, in the institute’s National Portrait Gallery.

Presently, the National Air and Space Museum, part of the Smithsonian Institute’s family of museums, is expecting to add to its unfamiliar screened past. In the summer of 2013, it was host to  the production of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which shot several scenes in the Milestones of Flight Gallery. Curator of the Museum, Margaret Weitekamp ,had notified the workers before they began that they were maneuvering around certified treasures. A few hours passed while the film crew circled from Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis monoplane to the other side of the room, which included the lustrous rocket lookalike, X-15. Shooting in half moon sections around the Milestones Gallery while the curator kept tabs on their progress, it seemed they were similarly worried about their own instruments as well as the irreplaceable valuables. For all the material that the film crew managed to take, only a few seconds of film made it onto the big screen.

Both Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia share scene sequences in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with the Smithsonian Institute, albeit it is not clear if they also have screened pasts like the foundation. The movie seems an endless resource for Marvel Studios, which is owned by Disney. In the four weeks since the movie’s release, it has garnered $224.9 million at the box offices of America. Due to the wide range of comics in Marvel’s arsenal, they are able to pump out hit after hit and bringing in huge profits. They have begun to dominate the realm of big, blockbuster movies by offering up franchises, either using separate characters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier or a team like the Avengers. Either way, their success at what they are doing is so vast that it is said to help drive what regular moviegoers want to see.

Helping Marvel along the way is a list of strong actors like Chris Evans playing Captain America and Scarlett Johansson playing Black Widow. How Marvel is able to include poignant subtext in their movies is a favored trait of their audiences. Curator Weitekamp from the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute, who also analyzes the communal and humane accomplishments of spaceflight, concurs that the Captain America movie delves into a sinister, more worldly analysis of society as a whole. The whole experience for her has brought to light once more the Smithsonian Institute and its screened past.

Opinion by Korrey Laderoute


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