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Los Angeles’ Skirball Cultural Center is venturing into TV history. Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds (open Oct. 7 through Feb. 20, 2022) features rare props and costumes from 55 years of the seminal sci-fi series.
In addition to costumes worn by stars Patrick Stewart, Leonard Nimoy and Nichelle Nichols, there’s a phaser from the original series (just one of two known to exist); a model of a Borg cube; and the head of the alien Gorn, the lizard-creature William Shatner’s Kirk fought in the classic 1967 episode “The Arena.” The exhibit spans work new and old, featuring both the open-chest Khan tunic worn by Ricardo Montalbán in The Wrath of Khan (1982) as well as the less-revealing costume Benedict Cumberbatch sported to play a younger version of the character in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a navigation console operated by Lieutenant Sulu (George Takei) in the original series. It was badly damaged and missing most of its buttons after 50 years in storage, so the team beamed up a group of fans to help restore it.
“They knew all this stuff — where to find the various switches they used back then in some warehouse that’s been sitting there for 50 years,” says Brooks Peck, curator of Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, which has loaned the exhibit to the Skirball. The restorers even made sure the lights blink with exactly the same timing as on TV.
Visitors also will get the chance to act with prop phasers and tricorders in a re-creation of the transporter bay, with a video monitor displaying what the scene would look like in the show as they fire the phasers and get beamed up.
Expect to see more than a few Star Trek fans — Trekkies helped invent Comic-Con culture — dressed up in costume. “It’s very encouraged,” says Skirball curator Laura Mart, who notes that a recent Jim Henson exhibit saw a lot of creative wear. “I hope we get more of that fun.” (Tickets for this special exhibition are $18 for adults; $15 for seniors and students; and $13 for children 2-12.)
This story first appeared in the Oct. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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