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Full Coverage: Liberty Bell 7 acrylic sales

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Cosmosphere offers more, larger bolts

December 5, 2000 — The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is making additional items remaining from the restoration of the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft available to the public. The proceeds from the sales will help offset the costs of the Cosmosphere's Liberty Bell 7 restoration and exhibition program.

"Our initial set of 250 acrylics sold out in a matter of days," said Jim Remar, Cosmosphere curator. "We were simply overwhelmed by the response."

"Based on the level of response we have had from as far away as Germany and the Netherlands, we are encasing the rest of the nuts and bolts that we have available, as well as several larger items, such as pressure fittings," Remar said. "We are finding that many of the people who are calling in want them for Christmas gifts, so we are working on them right now so that people receive them in time for Christmas."

The acrylics with nuts, bolts and washers are available for $150. The slightly larger acrylics containing items such as small pressure fittings retail at $250. The largest acrylics with items such as larger pressure fittings and segments of the landing bag assembly sell for $400.

"In most cases, these pressure fittings were not reinstalled in the spacecraft because they were too corroded," Remar said. "In the case of the landing bag assembly, the lines had to be cut in order to disassemble the bag from Liberty Bell 7."



The nuts and bolts of Liberty Bell 7

November 15, 2000 — The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is making a limited number of items remaining from the restoration of the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft available to the public. The proceeds from the sales will help offset the costs of the Cosmosphere's Liberty Bell 7 restoration and exhibition program.

"We have numerous bolts and screws that we were not able to put back in the spacecraft," said Max Ary, Cosmosphere President and CEO. "In many cases, the items could not be reinstalled in the spacecraft because of the corroded condition of the components to which they were originally attached."


The items are embedded in wedge-shaped, custom-made clear acrylics approximately 4.5" high and 5.25" wide. The acrylics feature an image of the restored spacecraft and descriptive text, and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

The Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft and its contents are owned by the Cosmosphere, which received title to the spacecraft from NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. It is the only flown, manned U.S. spacecraft owned by an organization other than the Smithsonian or NASA.

"Since the first days of the project, we have had people asking about purchasing the unusable items, including the mud and organic material we scraped off of the components," Ary said. "We were really astounded by the level of interest in this project from around the world."

According to Ary, the Cosmosphere is following the lead of such national institutions such as the Smithsonian in making unusuable items remaining from restoration projects available to the general public to help offset the high cost of restoration projects.

"I, myself, purchased a piece of the fabric from the Smithonian's restored Wright Brothers' Vin Fiz airplane many years ago," Ary said.


Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 Mercury spacecraft was recovered July 20, 1999, from a depth of 16,043 feet during a deep-sea salvage expedition funded by the Discovery Channel. The spacecraft was painstakingly preserved by the restoration team at the Cosmosphere. Every one of the nearly 25,000 parts of Liberty Bell 7 had to be removed, disassembled, cleaned and then put back together.

The spacecraft is now on a three-year nationwide tour as part of a traveling exhibition titled The Lost Spacecraft: Liberty Bell 7 Recovered. The exhibit opened June 17 at Kennedy Space Center. It is currently on exhibit at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

The Liberty Bell 7 acrylics are available through the Cosmosphere's Cargo Bay Gift Store at 316-662-2305 or 800-397-0330, ext. 348 or through the store's website.

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