William Shatner might have been to space, but Leonard Nimoy and his most iconic performance, as Spock in Star Trek, are set to get their own place at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It is one of the most prestigious museums featuring many historical artifacts from astronauts, among other things. And now it will have a pair of the most iconic body parts from any series. Those will be Spock’s ears.
Spock’s ears will “live long and prosper” at the Smithsonian National in D.C., as reported by WTOP News after the Vulcan pair of ears was donated to the museum by Leonard Nimoy’s family members. This is the same set of ear tips used as props during the original Star Trek series, a brave and brilliant sci-fi take on contemporary problems of society. The ears helped to create the iconic look of Enterprise’s science officer, Mr. Spock. So for anyone interested in checking the television’s most iconic pair of ears, they will be displayed starting out next year.
The pair of pointed, foam-made ear tips were made specifically for the original Star Trek series, running from 1966 to 1969. Leonard Nimoy played Spock, a half-human half-Vulcan hybrid known for his cool logic, concise sayings, and a respectful disregard for emotion. According to Adam Nimoy, Leonard’s son, his father brought the pair of ears home as a memento to commemorate the three years of hard work on the original series. These were displayed in a hand-made black box for over 50 years now and will continue to serve as a tribute to Nimoy’s outstanding performance as Mr. Spock. And hopefully, they will serve as an inspiration and hope to the ever-growing Star Trek fandom.
The set of Spock’s Vulcan ears will go on display in fall 2022 as part of the museum’s upcoming Kenneth C. Griffin “Exploring the Planets” gallery. Other Star Trek props, like an 11-foot-long studio model of Enterprise, are also set to go back on display once the renovations of the museum’s Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall are complete. Another pair of Spock’s ears are also in the same collection, and this one was made by a Star Trek super-fan, who used them while dressing up for conventions.
It’s worth pointing out that, though they rightfully deserved their place in Smithsonian’s collection, Spock’s ears have originally sparked concerns among television executives in the 60s. There was worry that they looked demonic and could potentially turn off viewers. If the readership finds the execs’ reaction fascinating, Plato’s Stepchildren is a particularly interesting episode that also put fear into television execs while garnering a very notable public reaction post-broadcast.
Leonard Nimoy was an American actor, author, film director, singer, and photographer, who achieved international fame for his portrayal of Spock in the Star Trek franchise. His last performance as the iconic science officer was in 2013’s Star Trek: Into Darkness, though he did provide voice acting in several Star Trek video games, animate series, and the first six Star Trek films.
Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock in Star Trek made a massive cultural impact and earned him three Emmy Award nominations. Unfortunately, the actor passed away in 2015, after a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Word of his death was met with shock and grief by the fandom, co-stars, and scientific community. He has an asteroid named after him and two autobiographies on sharing his existence with Spock.