On December 29, 1964, the 11-foot “miniature” of the now-famous starship, which was created from a 1-foot prototype by model-maker Richard C. Datin, was delivered by the Howard Anderson Company to Paramount Studios, which then donated the model in 1974 to the National Collection at the Smithsonian‘s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, where it’s still on display.
Model maker Richard C. Datin oversaw the efforts of craftsmen Mel Keys, Vernon Sion, and Volmer Jensen, who were working on the original designs created by Star Trek production artist Walter “Matt” Jefferies.
Later, Datin would make a few minor adjustments to the model prior to its use during the filming of the original series’ first pilot, “The Cage.” He subsequently would make alterations to the model for the second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and again once the show sold to NBC and filming began on the series’ first season.
The model has been on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum since the late 1970s. Originally, it hung in one of the first-level galleries, where it remained until the mid-late 1980s. After an extensive restoration, the model was returned to a 2nd floor gallery in the Air & Space Museum as part of a larger exhibit commemorating Star Trek, which ran between February 1992 and January 1993.
So, happy 49th birthday to the U.S.S. Enterprise