Transformers Invade the Smithsonian

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently had the chance to visit the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Dulles, VA. It was the first time that I ever visited that particular Smithsonian Museum, so I was somewhat surprised to see a small exhibit devoted to the Transformers toy line in the middle of the Smithsonian's collection of real-life aircraft.

This display was put up as part of this museum's role in the shooting of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and I suppose it was decided to keep the display up because another Transformer movie is coming out in a few weeks, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Placing movie props on display next to real-life artifacts in a museum is hardly a new idea. I've seen plenty of props from the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises on display at other Smithsonian museums, and I've also seen props from Aliens, Ghostbusters and Jaws on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. However, this is the first time that I've seen more toys on display from a franchise than props from one of its movies.

As you'll see in the pictures that I took of the display, the work that the Smithsonian put into its displays of the Optimus Prime, Starscream and Jetfire toys would make many toy stores green with envy. (Curiously, there wasn't a single piece of Transformers merchandise available in the gift shop.) Transformers toys are colorful and marvelously designed, but I've never understood the devotion that older fans have to the Transformers cartoons--cartoons that were produced with the sole intent to sell the toys. However, I do think it's amusing that while the Transformers cartoons have been made to sell toys to children, the live-action Transformers movies have been made to sell toys to children and to sell expensive cars to adults. Never underestimate the power of multi-media marketing, I suppose.

Click below to see the pictures that I took of the Smithsonian's Transformers display.


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