Set phasers to stunned: Fair hosts ‘Star Trek’ museum

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Becky Cox and her grandson, John Peterson, admire the intricate details of “Star Trek” models June 19 used in “The Next Generation” TV series. The ships are part of Star Trek: The Exhibition at the San Diego County Fair. (Photo by Scott Allison)

Ken Pagano

n_COUNTYFAIR_review_2013_webDon’t beam the sets and props up yet, Scotty. Star Trek: The Exhibition will be docked with the San Diego County Fair through July 4.

Trekkers and Trek fans alike have the chance to boldly stroll where few fans have strolled before, back in time and into the future through an interactive museum featuring one of the most impressive collections of authentic “Star Trek” artifacts, from phasers to uniforms, to the Scorpion fighter in the “Next Generation” film “Nemesis,” a time line through Federation history and a Borg bust.

And there’s more.

Call the turbolift and step out onto the bridge of the USS Enterprise – the one featured in the original television series that ran on NBC for three years starting in 1966, the bridge on which Captain Kirk negotiated, or didn’t, with countless alien species. It’s cause enough to alert medical.

And if one were so inclined to ask, a Red Shirt might give the OK to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair for a photo opportunity to commemorate the starship tour. Just don’t expect to see the same Red Shirt again. They have the worst life expectancy and tend to get vaporized within 15 minutes.

So, rather than apply for a position with security, instead don a Blue Shirt and walk around Sick Bay, where Dr. Beverly Crusher and her medical staff performed countless operations and routine medical exams on many memorable characters and the “Next Generation” crew, including Worf’s controversial spinal transplant, and from which Crusher pioneered the removal of Borg implants after the crew rescued Captain Picard following the events of “The Best of Both Worlds.”

Expecting to stand in the presence of the famous 11-foot Enterprise model used in the stock footage of the original series? Think again. That piece of sci-fi history is permanently docked in the gift shop at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. But don’t be too discouraged. On display is a replica of the Enterprise and stills of the starship.

In 2011, EMS Exhibits Inc. was granted the licensing rights to Star Trek: The Exhibition. Since then, the traveling museum has run in Germany and the Kennedy Space Center, and has made stops in St. Louis, Louisville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Detroit, Hollywood and Riverside, among other U.S. cities on its tour to date.

EMS Exhibits has also been involved with CSI: The Experience, Leonardo Da Vinci: Man – Inventor – Genius, and National Geographic’s Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs.

San Diego kicks off the three-city Southwest summer tour. Following the fair, the tour heads to the Los Angeles County Fair from Aug. 30 to Sept. 29, and then to the Arizona State Fair from Oct. 11 to Nov. 3.

For more information, visit the San Diego County Fair’s website.

Star Trek: The Exhibition is located at Surfside Race Place and is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. weekends, including July 4. Admission is not included with the fair ticket. Cost is $5 per person.

Ken Pagano is a San diego freelance writer