Whether you’re a hardcore or casual Trek fan or just interested in film and TV memorabilia, Star Trek: The Exhibition in Blackpool is well worth the visit!
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, Blackpool opened its doors to the Star Trek Exhibition. A collection of over 100 rare exhibits from the past 50 years of Star Trek gathered by a variety of private collectors and put on show for the first time. The exhibits include costumes, props and scripts but more excitingly; replica bridge of the Enterprise from the Original Series and (with the help of augmented reality) a working transporter. The exhibition opened its doors on 9th July and is open daily and I was invited to check out the collection on behalf of Redshirtsalwaysdie.com.
It’s a humid day as the sound of the Irish ocean offers the potential of tranquillity against the rustle and bustle of the town centre. Children running amok having overdosed on and assortment of sugar based rock candies are fighting each other to play on the various gaming machines scattered within the coastal towns many arcades found along its golden mile of family fun centred
entertainment. Year after year families flock to this town; it’s almost a right of passage for children in England to have visited it at least once and for parents to pass on the experience that they themselves had growing up. Madam Tussauds, the Pleasure Beach theme park, the world famous illuminations, the Sea Life centre; are just some of the experiences on offer. However, this famous town has added another stellar attraction to their impressive list with the Star Trek Exhibition.
It’s hard to miss the exhibition, as adorned on the outside of the promenade building in which its housed, are large banners featuring the familiar faces of some of our favourite Starfleet personnel notably Captains Kirk and Picard, Mr Spock and Lt. Uhura and it instantly gets the Trek juices flowing with excitement. Once inside the first thing you see is a portrait image of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry with a brief but informative bio and a quote by Captain Kirk from the episode Whom God Destroys, “…a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars” which is a very nice touch.
Opposite the Roddenberry feature is information relating to all the Star Trek film and TV shows. Along with posters, production details, the years they were released and copies of original scripts that where unfortunately behind glass so there was no chance of getting my grubby mitts on one. As I moved through I was met with a number of small TV screens embedded into the wall showing clips from various episodes of Star Trek the Original Series with the title ‘where it all began…’ As I turned, my geek euphoria went into melt down, as I was faced with a corridor of original costumes! On display were costumes from the various incarnations of Star Trek, including a jump suit from the abandoned series that was to be called Phase II but later reborn as Star Trek the Motion Picture. Other costumes included Spock’s headband and ears from the Voyage Home, Kirks outfit from the Final Frontier, Picard’s uniform from First Contact, both Romulan and Klingon uniforms as well as other outfits worn in the Next Generation, Enterprise and the Motion Picture.
The next room was very blue, blue like schematics on a digital display and the reason for that? Well that’s because we were basically presented with schematics. The schematics were of the numerous USS Enterprise’s there have been over the years, from the original series up to the JJ Abram’s Kelvin timeline film seen from a top view of each ship with their designation number underneath as if they were on computer screens.
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The next room was entitled ‘Holodeck’ and had the familiar pattern of the yellow on black squares that you would see on the Next Generation but what it housed wasn’t anything holographic. Around the room were a few torpedoes and console control sections but the item in the middle of the room was the most exciting. A replica of the El Baz shuttle used in the Next Generation series, it had been signed by cast and production crew of the show which had been used as a stage prop for over 15 years at conventions and events around Europe.
Then came the first jewel of the exhibitions crown, the working transporter. In order for the transporter to actually function you need to download the Blackpool Exhibition app that can be found on the Apple App and Google Play Stores. The transporter itself is a decent representation of the ones found in Star Trek but it’s when the app is activated that the thing is brought to life. The app is an augmented reality app and throughout the exhibition there are small panels which you hold your phone up to and that enables a video to be played that explains each part of the exhibit in greater detail, at the transporter however, it allows whoever is standing on the pads, to be transported! Check out the video of me beaming down below! Needless to say I was very happy at the sight of me being transported, I even said “Energise”!
The following rooms continued in the same vein with various costumes and props including a full size Borg drone, phasers, isolinear chips even a dilithium crystal. However, the second jewel soon appeared, this was one of those moments in which you cannot help but say the words “OH MY GOD!” It may not be clear from my writing so far on redshirtslalwaysdie.com or through my Trek This comic, but I am a HUGE fan of the Original Series and this was a dream come true. Yes I understand it’s not the real thing only a replica, but it could be as close as I ever come to sitting in the captain’s chair. One of the rooms within the exhibition had been turned into a replica of the Enterprise bridge from the Original Series. Complete with said captains chair and both helms controls. The red hand rail was also there however the other stations, in which Spock and Uhura might have been sat at, was just an image against the walls, alas you cannot have everything but sitting in the chair I had the feeling that I was born for it.
The final room was filled with TV screens showing the trailers for the Kelvin timeline films, Star Trek, Into Darkness and the latest instalment, Beyond.
Overall the experience was thrilling and it was fascinating to see items that I had only ever seen through a TV screen up close and personal and what made it all the better was that it was objects from a franchise that I adore. This exhibit is a visual feast for Star Trek fans and as I said at the top of this article, even if you are not a Trek fan but have an interest in film, it is well worth checking out.
As part of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary celebrations Blackpool doesn’t stop with the Exhibition. They are playing host to a Star Trek film festival that will include showing the newest film in the franchise as well as including Star Trek as part of the world famous Blackpool illuminations. For more information please visit:
What are your thoughts? Will you be looking to attend the exhibition? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.