Star Trek lands in Main Library


Head of Special Collections Gregory Prickman (back) and Peter Balestrieri, the curator of Science Fiction, Special Collections (front), work on the Star Trek exhibit in the Main Library Special Collections on April 22. Star Trek is celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the original Star Trek series. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

By Bill Cooney  |  [email protected]

To boldly go where no library has gone before.

Today is the opening day of the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections’ new exhibit celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the original “Star Trek” Series, which débuted in 1966.

The exhibit contains mainly artifacts from “Star Trek: The Original series,” as well as Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan. The items on display, however, don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the UI’s extensive Star Trek Collection, said Greg Prickman, the head of UI Special Collections.

“We have such a deep collections of Star Trek material,” Prickman said. “A lot of it is fan collections, stuff like fan fiction and fanzines; the anniversary was the perfect reason for us to have this exhibit to show some of what we have.”

The effect fans had on the original series is the focus of the material on display, UI specialist librarian Colleen Theisen said.

“Star Trek changed everything in fandom,” said Theisen, who said she grew up watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” “This is the perfect opportunity to display all the different fan-made material we have in the collections.”

Along with props, there will be artifacts from the original series, and the movie Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan, which was written in part by an Iowa graduate, said Bill Voss, who works in the UI Libraries Conservation Lab.

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“There will be a pair of Spock’s ears which I believe were worn by Leonard Nimoy,” Voss said. “There will also be an original script for Star Trek 2, which was written by Nick Meyer, who went to Iowa.”

In fact, a large part of the UI’s Star Trek collection can be attributed to Meyer, Prickman said.

“Nicholas Meyer has donated a lot to the university,” Prickman said. “We’re one of the leading centers for research on science fiction in the country because of the amount of material in Special Collections we have available for research.”

On May 20, Meyer (also a DI alum) will be on campus to talk about his continued involvement with the Star Trek franchise, Prickman said.

Riverside, Iowa, is known to Trekkies as the future birthplace of Enterprise Capt. James Tiberius Kirk, and it is also the home of Trek Fest every summer. This recognition was because of the fans, Prickman said.

“That was all fan effort, and now it’s become such an important part of the mythology,” he said. “That’s really what we’re trying to do with this exhibit, to show the effect the show has had on fans and vice versa.”

Meyers is credited for writing the line that will forever link Star Trek and Iowa, Theisen said.

“It was Nicholas Meyer that wrote that line,” she said. “ ‘No. I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space.’ ”

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