Apollo 11 and 12 Astronauts at the National Air and Space Museum

I came in around 9:15 for my 9:30 – 1:30 volunteer shift at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum yesterday thinking it was just another Sunday.  I was quite surprised to see a line of visitors at the doors.  Usually there are a few early birds that want to get in right at 10 AM, but not 100!  Still, it was summer and being the most visited museum in the world, did not think much of it.

Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Alan Bean Signing Books 11-2.

The daily brief for volunteers indicated a book signing today.  Usually there is a current Airforce pilot, or a previous White House Chef, but no, there were 3 Apollo astronauts signing their own book today!

Slightly reminiscent of “Jerry Maguire” where the Baseball star would only sign “Upper Deck” cards of himself per contract.  These guys were only signing their book, and in some cases where more than one book had been written, a specific book!  To make things more fun, all three were to be lined up at a table which of course means, you have to buy all 3 books in order to not make one feel bad.  LOL.   Not really, but that is the reason I shelled out $40 for Alan Bean’s book 🙂  which by the way is full of his amazing artwork!

Book Buying and Signing

Okay…so you need to have the 3 books.  You were discouraged from bringing in them from outside vendors as “they had the right to limit the number of outside books that were signed.”

Line 1 (Purchasing – 2 hour wait)

This is the line to get books.  The line grew past the center of the museum before 10:10 AM and extended to the other end before too long.  Not sure when they opened up the sales, but the line seemed to move at a snails pace.

Line 2 (Signing – 2 hour wait)

Okay…so you have your books.  If you at the head of the line you likely did not have to wait in the signing line too long, but by the time I was ready to get my books signed, at the end of my shift, the lines were almost even 🙁

There was no personalization going on, so I had no idea why signing books would take so long.  You would think in the time it took to pay for your books, someone could have had all 3 signed.  Alas, that was not the case.

If you buy a book now, you will NOT be able to get it signed.

This announcement was made at 1 PM, an hour before the end of the official signing.  As you might expect, the sales line dwindled.  I originally was past the end of the line which meant I was not going to get my signatures.  I was really upset at myself for not getting my books signed earlier, but I wanted to volunteer as much as I could not expecting the line to get so long and get advance warning of line closure.  Thankfully there were some visitors behind me that were thowing a fit.  Many of them had just bought their books and were told that “Yes, you will get your books signed.”  So, when the coordinator came down and recognized those folk behind me, Barbie moved the back of the line which thrilled myself at those behind me.

Finally, Signatures!

Just before 3 PM I was able to get my books signed.  I was in my volunteer garb and mentioned to “Buzz” that he was the reason I was here volunteering.  I have a love of space and he was one of the first explorers.  I was hoping to get some kind of response from him, but instead got nothing 🙁  Quite disappointing.  His designated spokesperson seemed to hear my comments though and thanked me.

Perhaps the unwillingness to talk was because it was close to an hour after the signing was supposed to end, or just that he has done so many of these that he no longer has the “spark” to talk.  He also is getting a little old, so perhaps he had already had his share of conversation before I arrived.  In any event, I now have 3 more signed books for my collection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *