AidSpace Blog

Bring Me the Head of Alan Shepard: A Halloween Story

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While processing a National Air and Space Museum Archives photo collection, I came across this image—two men holding the wax head of astronaut Alan Shepard!

Earl W. Dorfman, managing director of the National Historical Wax Museum, presents a model of Alan Shepard’s head to Director Philip S. Hopkins of the National Air Museum on September 15th, 1961. NASM A-48176-A.

 

Although wax replicas are often used for creepy Halloween special effects, this wax model of Shepard’s head was made by the National Historical Wax Museum for realistic display purposes.  For years, the head and a reproduction pressure suit were on display inside the “Freedom 7” capsule.  The Museum has since deaccessioned the head and the Freedom 7 capsule is currently on loan to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library.

The real Alan Shepard inside “Freedom 7.”  They did a pretty good job at the wax museum, yes?! NASM 73-10737

 

Have a happy and safe Halloween!!

Elizabeth C. Borja is an archivist in the Archives Department of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

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