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Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum giving away select museum items

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The Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum is doing some spring cleaning. Curators are offering to give away parts of the museum's collection to qualified museums and educational organization to make room for new additions.

If anyone is in need of a Vietnam-era Marine Corps chopper, the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center is willing to part with theirs. Other items the museum may give away range from space suits to rocket engines.

“In the museum field we call is deaccessioning. This is the process of getting rid of items that are surplus to the museum’s objectives or goals,” said Museum Specialist Roger Connor.

Connor said some of the items are duplicates, or the museum doesn’t have room to display other items properly.

But in the case of the UH-34, it’s more about the helicopter’s story. It was a trainer that never saw combat.

“If we are going to tell the story of marines flying in combat, we want an aircraft that flew in combat, so we are actively looking for a replacement,” Connor says.

Like any museum, there will always be new exhibits coming in and some old ones going away. But rest assured favorites, like the Blackbird or Space Shuttle Discovery, are here to stay.

In 2009, the Smithsonian parted with a WWII B-17 bomber that hadn’t seen combat and needed restoration. The National Museum of the Mighty 8th Air Force in Savannah, Ga. took on the project and has made the plane the center piece of its museum.

“They had an excess airplane in inventory and gave us a call one day and said, ‘Would you all like a B-17?” Of course that was our number one mission, to acquire a B-17 for this museum, so of course we said yes,” said Henry Skipper, president and CEO of the National Museum of the Mighty 8th Air Force.

The Smithsonian also sent a full-size model of an experimental plane packing to New York's Cradle of Aviation Museum.

“It meant a lot to the people who live up here, who retired up here. It’s going to be a very unique part of our collection,” said Andrew Parton, the museum's executive director.

See the complete list of items the museum may give away here.

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