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Columbia’s Smithsonian connection September 6, 2017

Posted by diannaobrien in Charles W. Gehrke General.
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Sometimes Washington, D.C., with its amazing Smithsonian museums and political glitz and glitter can seem far away, but a bit of Columbia has made its way to the National Air and Space Musem — and soon copies of the book, “From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks,” will be on their way there, too.

In 1986, Charles W. Gehrke donated to the Smithsonian a Varian 4 2100 series column gas chromatography, Cat. 1987 0137000. The instrument was literally used to analyze out of this world substances — all the moon samples returned from the 1969-1972 Apollo moon missions.

Don’t rush to Washington to see the instrument. It’s in storage like millions of other items at the Smithsonian, but knowing a bit of Columbia is there is thrilling.

I’ve been in touch with Matthew Shindell, of the Space History Department at the National Air and Space Museum, and he said the museum would be happy to receive copies of the book and will keep them in the research library for the use of curators and visiting researchers. Shindell said, “I am sure they will help us to understand Gehrke’s work and the instrument in our collection.”

In addition, it turns out Shindell is writing a book about Dr. Harold Urey, a scientist man who influenced Gehrke and who is mentioned in the book I’ll be sending to Shindell.

But now I’m curious about other Smithsonian connections from Columbia. Do you know of any other items from Columbia that have found their way to the national museums?

Are you curious about the book that’s heading to Washington? You can get a copy of the book about the life and scientific adventure of Gehrke at the downtown bookstore, Yellow Dog Bookshop, 8 S. Ninth St., the Columbia Mall bookstore Barnes & Noble and the shop at Boone County Historical Society at 3801 Ponderosa St.

You can get it electronically from Barnes & Noble, amazon.com or buy it via this website and I’ll mail you the book for $20 plus tax and shipping.Buy Now Button

Now, what else do you know that hailed from Columbia, Missouri and in a national museum?