The restored Star Trek Enterprise-D bridge goes on display in May

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A recreation of the Star Trek The Next Generation Enterprise-D bridge
Enlarge / The Enterprise-D bridge recreation, seen in London in 2002.

Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

More than a decade has gone by since three Star Trek: The Next Generation fans first decided to restore the bridge from the Enterprise-D. Plans for the restored bridge morphed from opening it up to non-commercial uses like weddings or educational events into a fully fledged museum, and now that museum is almost ready to open. Backers of the project on Kickstarter have been notified that Sci-Fi World Museum will open to them in Santa Monica, California, on May 27, with general admission beginning in June.

It’s not actually the original set from TNG, as that was destroyed while filming Star Trek: Generations, when the saucer section crash-lands on Veridian III. But three replicas were made, overseen by Michael Okuda and Herman Zimmerman, the show’s set designers. Two of those welcomed Trekkies at Star Trek: The Experience, an attraction in Las Vegas until it closed in 2008.

The third spent time in Hollywood, then traveled to Europe and Asia for Star Trek: World Tour before it ended up languishing in a warehouse in Long Beach. It’s this third globe-trotting Enterprise-D bridge that—like the grit that gets an oyster to create a pearl—now finds a science-fiction museum accreted around it. Well, mostly—the chairs used by Riker, Troi, Data, and some other bits were salvaged from the Las Vegas exhibit.

Unlike the actual set, which was made from wood, the replica is made of metal and fiberglass. The restoration was originally supposed to take up to two years, but the project ended up being a far bigger challenge.

When Ars checked in with the Enterprise-D bridge restoration in 2014, the science-fiction museum plan had taken shape. But that change of plans did not sit well with some of the project’s original supporters, particularly after an imperfect re-creation of the captain’s chair—which remained lost until recently—was sold on eBay.

Things got even uglier in 2018 when Huston Huddleston, who led the project, was arrested and then convicted for possessing child pornography. Although Huddleston still appears listed as the project’s CEO on its Kickstarter page, that appears to be an artifact of its creation, and John Purdy is listed as the CEO of the Sci-Fi World Museum on its About Us page.

The Enterprise-D isn’t the only bridge you’ll be able to find at the museum—there’s also a replica of the bridge from Star Trek: The Original Series, which previously lived in a wax museum in Buena Park, California. Other exhibits include a hall of robots, as well as the “Bubbleship” and a drone from the movie Oblivion.

It’s also not the only recent re-creation of the Enterprise-D’s bridge. Okuda and his wife Denise both helped Paramount re-create the iconic set for the third season of Picard. The new Enterprise-D set can even be explored on Google Maps.

And earlier this month, it looked like Jean-Luc Picard’s long-lost chair might be sold at auction. However, the day saw an agreement between CBS Studios and the auctioneer Propstore, which will return the chair to CBS’s Star Trek Archive, which plans to restore and display it in the coming year.

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