Update 11/27/03

Action Alert Index

We wanted you to know the latest on our efforts to stop the display of an airplane covered in Bud Light logos at the National Air and Space Museum's (NASM) annex.  For our previous action on this issue, click here.


House Letter to Smithsonian Signed by 20 Representatives


Last week, 20 Representatives signed and sent a letter to Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small, questioning the appropriateness of gratuitous alcohol advertising in a public science museum visited by millions of young people.  The mix of signers was great -- 7 Republicans and 13 Democrats, including 8 members of the House Appropriations Committee.


The many contacts that these and other members received made a clear difference, so thanks to everyone who emailed or called his/her Representative.  If your Representative signed the letter, please send him/her a thank-you email or place a thank-you phone call to his/her office.


Washington Post Breaks the Story


On November 19, the Washington Post ran a front-page story in the Style section on the House letter to Secretary Small and CSPI's ongoing efforts surrounding the plane.


On November 21, the Washington Post wrote a second story, describing the Smithsonian's refusal to abide the Representatives' request.


On November 27, the Washington Post published a letter to the editor from Jack Church of West, Texas, which expressed concern about the Bud Light plane's display.


Smithsonian Rejects House Request


National Air and Space Director John Dailey's November 20 reply to Reps. Hinchey, Wamp, and 18 others transmits his refusal to alter the appearance of the Bud Light plane.  The Smithsonian now claims that the plane's beer logo paint job is historically accurate because the Laser 200 gained "tremendous national prominence" during the air show years when Anheuser-Busch sponsored the plane.  Curiously, the official bio of the pilot and plane on the NASM website offers seven paragraphs detailing his accomplishments as a plane builder and competitive flyer, and two lines referencing his second career in air shows.  Similarly, the curator's report to the NASM collections committee makes absolutely no mention of the plane's air show participation, but instead lists its successful monoplane design, its influence on other competitive aerobatic aircraft, and the pilot's record seven national titles as justification for acquiring the plane.


CSPI's Response to Smithsonian Position


CSPI released a statement to the press on November 21, challenging the Smithsonian's faulty thinking on the historical appropriateness of the plane's appearance.


What's Next?


Thanks for your support of CSPI's campaign to remove and repaint the Bud Light plane at the National Air and Space Museum's new annex.  It's clear we have more work to do.


If you would like to continue raising the issue with the Smithsonian, consider the following steps you, or others in your community, could do:

  • Write a letter to Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small, and cc: your Senators and Representative, expressing your disapproval that the plane is allowed to remain on display while covered in gratuitous beer ads.  Send your letter to: Secretary Lawrence Small, Smithsonian Institution, 1000 Jefferson Dr. SW, Washington, DC 20560.

  • If you happen to visit the National Air and Space Museum or the Udvar-Hazy annex, be sure to register your concern about the exhibit on a comment card or to officials at the museum.

  • If your local schools take students on tours of the Smithsonian museums, ask the principal or teachers to write letters to Secretary Small, expressing concern about the appropriateness of the exhibit.

  • Raise the issue in your local media by writing a letter to the editor of the newspaper.  Click here for tips on writing a letter to the editor.


For more information, contact Amy Gotwals, manager of grassroots advocacy, agotwals@cspinet.org or 202-332-9110.



November 2003

For more information, please send us an email.


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Center for Science in the Public Interest

Alcohol Policies Project

1220 L St. NW, Suite 300

Washington, DC  20005

Phone: 202-332-9110 * Fax: 202-265-4954 * Web: www.cspinet.org/booze