Last summer, two Star Trek collectors, Adam Schneider and Alec Peters, bought the original shuttlecraft Galileo at auction. The original filming set, built in 1967, had fallen on hard times and was in desperate need of restoration. Enter Adam and Alec. Adam is one of the biggest collectors of studio scale Star Trek filming miniatures, and Alec is one of the leading authorities on Star Trek props and costumes and writes the blog startrekprops.com. Alec had been hunting for Galileo for two years when the owner surfaced and decided to auction the 24' long ship. Alec and Adam got together and knew that they had the skills to restore her to her former glory.
"A lot of fans wanted to buy Galileo, but that is kind of how she got in the shape she is in." said Peters "Fans have great intentions, but the Galileo needed a lot of money for a professional, ground up restoration. We knew that if we won it, we had the wherewithal to get the restoration done right and then make sure it gets to a museum. The last thing we wanted was to see her languish in someone's backyard for another 20 years."
So, in October of last year, Galileo was moved from storage in Ohio, where it has been for 20+ years, to Master Shipwrights, a professional boat restoration facility in New Jersey where it will undergo a massive, ground-up restoration Some might think a boat restoration company is an interesting choice, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Says Schneider: "A boat restorer has skills working with the materials that Galileo was made from. Galileo was built by Gene Winfield in the 1960s of wood on a metal frame. A boat builder has expertise in working in all of these materials."
Adam lives in New Jersey, so it was natural for him to have the Galileo restored close to him, so he could oversee the restoration. Alec, who helps CBS with the Star Trek archive, is chronicling the whole process for the Galileo Restoration website and a possible book and video project.
While the move itself from Ohio was uneventful, the Galileo and Master Shipwrights were victims of Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York in October. The Master Shipwrights facility was flooded with two feet of water. Fortunately, Galileo was up on a trailer and was unaffected! "It would it have been a tragedy for Galileo to have made it through 45 years of travel and neglect to suffer a dismal fate in a hurricane!" say Schneider, whose Jersey shore vacation home was flooded in Hurricane Sandy.
Hans and his crew are working to a very high standard. Recently, the process of restoring the Galileo was reviewed by the curator of one of the largest air and space museums in the country and we were told Hans and his team were doing EXACTLY what a museum expects in a restoration of this type. Galileo was also noted in a New York Times article naming the Galileo one of the top 10 most interesting items at auction in 2012.
So Galileo is getting the treatment it deserves.