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Space-themed pop culture takes center stage at St. Louis Science Center’s First Friday event

"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" is one of the series discussed in Weitekamp's presentation at the St. Louis Science Center Friday evening.
via Flickr | Marcin Wichary
"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" is one of the series discussed in Weitekamp's presentation at the St. Louis Science Center Friday evening.

On the first Friday of every month, the St. Louis Science Center welcomes adults to take a look at the reality behind science fiction. This month’s event highlights two staples in popular culture: Star Trek and Babylon 5.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with Margaret Weitekamp, curator of space history for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, about space-themed pop culture. Her presentation at the St. Louis Science Center Friday evening will cover how the space stations depicted in the two popular television series demonstrate multicultural meeting spaces.

“It’s really a look at what does integration look like in all of its complicated messiness when you are stuck together in one place,” Weitekamp said.

For example, Star Trek, created by screenwriter Gene Roddenberry in 1966, forecasted what a diverse and assimilated society might’ve looked like, according to Weitekamp.

“[Roddenberry] was very forward thinking in putting together a racially integrated group of men and women on the bridge of the Enterprise, including even a Russian in the second season at the height of the Cold War,” she said. “And I think it’s important to remember that when that show was on the air, the civil rights movement was really still going, the women’s rights movement had just begun, and he even threw in an alien, Mr. Spock, on there, trying to envision what integration would look like.”

Related Event
What: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 – Space Stations on a Changing Frontier”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, July 6, 2018
Where: St. Louis Science Center (5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, 63110)

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.


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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.
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