The Spirit of Trek – Star Trek Restoration Projects

By Mike Medeiros

Welcome to the Spirit of Trek, a weekly column where we identify and celebrate Gene Roddenberry’s vision by discovering how its messages have started to permeate throughout humanity’s collective consciousness by looking for it on the Internet and within popular culture. With their favorite Star Trek series and movies no longer being produced, fans feel a need to help preserve various aspects of it for posterity. Props, costumes, and even entire sets have been restored to their former glory and there are several ongoing projects that need our help to complete.

Last week in our discussion of Fan Productions, we discussed Star Trek Phase II, formerly Star Trek: New Voyages. This fan produced series created an amazingly accurate replica of the Enterprise Bridge from the original series for their show. They have even allowed other fan-productions, including Star Trek: Of Gods and Men to use the set. Their efforts to produce one of the most iconic sets in all of Star Trek, embodies the Spirit of Trek through the preservation of Star Trek’s history for the enjoyment of future generations. However, they are not the only group of likeminded people that are trying to save the best of Star Trek.

On May 13, 2005 the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise aired and marked the end of an era. For the previous 18 years, Star Trek was on television every week in one form or another, beginning with the premier of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987. However, it was all over and it was time to clean house. Over the next year, CBS and Paramount Studios cleared out their warehouses. They organized the best 1000 items into a collection consisting of models, costumes, set pieces, props, and so much more from the various movies and television series and sent it on tour to the US and Europe for five months, before it was offered to the highest bidder at Christie’s Auction house in New York on October 5th 2006. At auction, a table from the Enterprise-E sold for $480, while the model of the Starship Enterprise-D sold for $576,000. The 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection brought in more than $7.1 million dollars, four times as much as was anticipated. The success of the auction showed that people wanted to not only own a piece of Star Trek, but that they saw it as something worth preserving for the future.

However, many of the pieces that people have acquired for their personal Star Trek collections are rarely in pristine condition. Sometimes, these objects are damaged from years of abuse and neglect and have to be restored to their former glory. During my research for this article, I came across several videos. The first was a walk-through of the April 10th 2010 Star Trek: The Experience warehouse sale in Las Vegas that featured some of the props and displayed the condition that some of these collectible objects were in when they were sold. The other video I found featured a prop master evaluating some damaged Star Trek ship models that required repair and restoration. I found it interesting how he described and identified some of the kit bashing aspects, their materials, and briefly explained what he would have to do in order to fully restore each vessel.

However, there are people undertaking much larger restoration projects than shoring up starships or retuning hand phasers, so to speak. Some projects are monumental in scale for an individual or a small group to do on their own. The Galileo and the Restore the Enterprise Bridge Projects are a couple of these massive restoration efforts.

In 1991, a private individual purchased the Galileo shuttle prop from the original series in an auction with the hope of restoring it. The magnitude of the project forced it to be abandoned by the owner. It was recently put up for auction once again, and Propworx snatched it up. Their goal is to finish the restoration process by Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary. However, the full restoration was estimated to cost around $100,000. To help them reach their goal, STARFLEET, the world’s oldest and largest Star Trek fan organization is helping to raise funds.

The Restore Enterprise Bridge is another massive restoration project. The people behind this project obtained a display version of the Enterprise-D Bridge that had been abandoned and left out in the elements. After speaking with CBS, they established a non-profit organization called New Starship that is seeking to restore the bridge and turn it into an Educational Museum with interactive touch-screen computers. They hope to make the bridge available to Fan Productions, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and other organizations that wish to educate and provide the experience of Star Trek. In order to complete the full project with all of their bells and whistles, they require $250,000. However, they are able to get the first phase of the project up and running with a minimum of $20,000 and have set up a kickstarter to help them raise the funds required to get the bridge restored. It’s a worthy project built with the best of intentions that truly embodies the Spirit of Trek. Support the Star Trek Enterprise Bridge Restoration by donating here.

Star Trek has become a part of our culture and many people want to preserve its legacy for future generations to enjoy. Restoration projects such as the work performed by Propworx and the Enterprise Bridge Restoration project are just some examples of how they keeping the Spirit of Trek alive by making sure that the props, sets, and costumes that have become iconic parts of Star Trek are around to inspire children for generations to come.

The time has come to wrap up this week’s column. Thank you for joining me on this journey to discover how the Spirit of Trek has started to permeate throughout our culture with the hope that one day, Gene Roddenberry’s vision for humanity’s future will become a reality. If you come across something that you believe embodies the Spirit of Trek on the Internet or within popular culture, please do not hesitate to share it with me. I may discuss it in a future article. Live long and Prosper.

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