The Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center Celebrates Movie Star Moment

Capitalizing on its cameo in the new Transformers movie, the Smithsonian showed off the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center with a Hollywood-style screening and party.

By Adele Chapin July 13, 2009, 4:36 PM EDT

The Smithsonian's dessert-covered conveyor belt

Photo: BizBash

The Smithsonian went Hollywood for 2009’s summer blockbuster season, with appearances in two hit movies this year. First, the National Air and Space Museum starred in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Now the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Dulles plays a key role in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. To celebrate the movie’s release, the National Air and Space Museum hosted “Hooray for Hazy-Wood,” a reception and screening at the Udvar-Hazy Center on Thursday evening.

“The idea is to showcase the fact that the movie was filmed here,” said Megan Wenderoff, special events manager for the Udvar-Hazy Center. The special events team showed off the museum as well, inviting 500 past and prospective clients (and their children) from businesses in the Dulles area. “For those who have never been here before, we wanted to help them visualize what an after-hours event would look like here.”

Since the movie is about robots, Wenderoff knew fussy floral decor wouldn’t work. Instead, Cort Event Furnishings donated futuristic translucent plastic and steel furniture to complement the venue's industrial look, and seating areas were grouped near exhibits like the Enterprise space shuttle. Projections of swirling galaxies covered the ceiling, and red, purple, and yellow spotlights illuminated the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which is featured in the movie. Guests could pose in front of the plane for photographs that were printed and ready to be taken home as souvenirs after the screening.

Occasions Caterers provided the playfully titled Transformers-themed menu, featuring kid-friendly fare such as “Megatron’s Mac and Cheese” and “Optimus Prime’s Personal Pizza.” Kids also lined up for the illuminated gelato carts throughout the space and grabbed miniature apple pies and strawberry shortcakes from a revolving conveyor belt at the “Speedway Dessert Buffet.” For adults, Occasions offered specialty drinks such as “The Autobot” (a vodka-watermelon puree) and “The Decepticon” (a cucumber highball).

At 7 p.m., guests filed into the Airbus Imax Theatre for a screening of the 150-minute film, which received a smattering of applause during the six-minute scene set in the Udvar-Hazy Center’s Boeing Aviation Hangar. Although food and drink weren't allowed in the theater, guests didn’t miss out on movie treats. As they left the museum, they picked up Twizzlers, Gummy Bears, Goobers, and Sour Patch Kids, as well as cookies shaped like the SR-71 Blackbird.

Correction: This story has been changed to reflect that it was the National Air and Space Museum, not the National Museum of Natural History, that served as the setting for Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

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