The Star Trek Exhibit at The Tech Museum
December 14th, 2009
I went with my sister, nephew, and some friends to the Star Trek Exhibit at The Tech Museum in San Jose (review). It appears that this is an exhibit that has been making the rounds, as it has been in at least a few other cities before, such as Detroit and San Diego. Before we left, I was preparing to take my camera, when it struck me that they might not allow photography. I checked out the web site, and, sure enough, they didn't. When I added that together with the fact that they had a complete bridge set from the 1966 show, it became pretty clear that either one of two things were true: either Paramount had some copyright restrictions in play, or they were making a huge amount of money by photographing people on the set and selling the photos. I bet on the latter, and I was spot on: they were charging $28 for a pair of photos of you in the captain's chair (add $5 for a transporter photo). This in addition to the $15 admission and the $5 simulator ride. Be prepared to spend at least $58 per person if no one can resist the full photo set. The exhibit was not really bad, but it wasn't fantastic, either. The set recreation was OK, but wasn't fantastic, or wholly true to the real thing. It was smaller, for one thing. You could not, for example, walk around the captain's chair from behind, something they did all the time in the show. Mr. Spock's station, aside from being in the wrong place relative to the captain's chair, didn't have the blue-light scanner thingie he used to look into all the time (they had one at Mr. Scott's station instead, which was from a third-season version of the set). And the main viewscreen, aside from lacking the blue-light fringe, didn't have the trademark lights at the bottom which blinked from the center outwards. Heresy. After the bridge set, you walk through a TNG corridor past a recreation of Picard's Ready Room (no entrance), a transporter room (another for-cash photo opp), a recreation of the Guardian of Forever set (no photos of you jumping through, wasted opportunity), a display of models and other stuff (including shooting models of a Borg Cub and the Enterprise D, both of which were a bit disappointing), followed by a special gift shop (naturally) and two simulators with a Borg scenario narrated by Michael Dorn. We weren't complete dorks, however; while the kids were waiting to ride the simulators, we adults sat around trading recommendations for iPhone apps.