Sign up for our Newsletter
Arrow Back to all events

Photos by Dane A. Penland, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.


Registration is required for this free, virtual event. Go to:


Hamptons Observatory and co-host, Southampton Arts Center, are pleased to present a free, virtual lecture by Dr. Margaret Weitekamp, Curator & Chair of the Space History Department at the Smithsonian’s National
Air and Space Museum.


In this special evening, you’ll experience a space historian’s tour through the history of spaceflight and space science fiction, as demonstrated through the Smithsonian’s collection of space and science fiction memorabilia. Dr. Weitekamp’s talk will be based on her new book, Space Craze (Smithsonian Books, 2022). Spanning from the 1929 debut of the futuristic Buck Rogers to present-day privatization of spaceflight, Space Craze celebrates America’s endless enthusiasm for space exploration. Featuring historical milestones in space exploration, films and TV shows, literature and comic strips, toys and games, and internet
communities, Space Craze is a sci-fi lover’s dream. In her lecture, Dr. Weitekamp will also discuss how spaceflight, both real and imagined, has served as the nexus where contemporary American concerns, such as race, gender, sexuality, freedom, and national identity, have been explored and redefined.


Dr. Margaret A. Weitekamp serves as chair for the Space History Department at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and curates the Museum’s social and cultural history of spaceflight
collection of more than 5,000 artifacts. Her book, Space Craze: America’s Enduring Fascination with Real and Imagined Spaceflight, is based on that work. She co-authored the 2023 edition of Spaceships: An Illustrated History of the Real and Imagined, authored numerous scholarly articles, as well as Right
Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program
, and the award-winning children’s picture book, Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery. Weitekamp earned her PhD in history from Cornell University. During her graduate work, she was a Mellon fellow in the humanities and spent a year in residence at the NASA Headquarters History Office in Washington, D.C. as the American Historical Association / NASA Aerospace History Fellow. Before joining the Smithsonian, Weitekamp taught in the Women’s Studies Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Hamptons Observatory extends its deepest thanks to Dr. Weitekamp for generously taking the time to share her expertise and to co-host Southampton Arts Center for partnering with us on this special event.


Hamptons Observatory (HO), a 501(c)(3) NYS nonprofit that relies on public support, has served the community since 2005. Its mission: to foster interest in science, particularly astronomy, through educational
programs. Lectures, star parties, portable planetarium shows and other events are held, often in collaboration with other nonprofit organizations. Hamptons Observatory offers all of its programs free-of-charge (although donations are greatly appreciated) so that everyone can learn about and enjoy the universe around them. To join our email list for news and event notices, please email [email protected].
To make a tax-deductible donation to support our mission, please visit
and click on Support Us. Thanks!