Historic Moment

Special exhibits, events on tap
to mark Apollo 11 anniversary

Lots of space-related activities
planned to celebrate moon walk

(April 2019) – On Jan. 24, the U.S. Mint released an Apollo 11 Anniversary Commemorative Coin. This unique four-coin program includes the Mint’s first reeded five-ounce proof silver dollar, a $5 gold coin, a silver dollar and a half dollar. All coins are curved. 

And this summer, several museums and space-related attractions will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, offering exhibits and activities for families, students and space enthusiasts. Here’s a look at some of them:
• Ongoing through Aug. 16: “Apollo in the Archives,” featuring selected documents and artifacts from the Neil Armstrong papers, to commemorate the Purdue alumnus Armstrong’s and humanity’s first steps on the lunar surface. The exhibit opened March 14 and runs through Aug. 16 at Purdue University’s Archives and Special Collections at the Humanities, Social Science & Education Library, fourth floor, 502 State St., West Lafayette, Ind. Free admission. For exhibit hours call (765) 494-2839.

NASA photo

Pictured above is the
Apollo 11 Anniversary Commemorative Coin.

• Ongoing through July 2019: Lunar Legacy lectures on the scientific and cultural impacts of the moon landing, in the town where Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins trained for moon walks. Second Wednesday of each month at the Coconino Community College’s Lone Tree Campus in Flagstaff, Ariz. Visit www.FlagstaffArizona.org.
• Ongoing through December 2019: “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon,” an exhibit to celebrate the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary and highlight what was “the Great Space Race.” Open daily at One Tranquility Base at the U.S. Rocket Center in Hunstville, Ala. The Center features the world’s largest space attraction features dozens of interactive exhibits surrounding Apollo, Mercury and Space Shuttle spacecraft. The Center also offers daily moon landing re-enactments through Dec. 1. Visit www.RocketCenter.com.
• July 8-10: “Chasing the Moon,” a four-hour PBS documentary tracing the origin of the space race through the first lunar landing.
• July 10: “Back to the Moon,” a TV special on PBS’ NOVA program on engineers preparing to send spacecraft to the moon as a stepping stone for missions to Mars, asteroids and other destinations in deep space.
• July 13: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Gala with former astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Visit www.RoadtoApollo50th.com.
• July 13-20: Apollopalooza 2019, Wings Over The Rockies Air and Space Museum, Denver. A regional celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and future human space exploration. Activities, exhibits, seminars and more dedicated to celebrating the first Apollo moon landing and showcasing the latest in space exploration and technology. Featuring an Apollo astronaut, industry leading companies, educational STEM activities and speakers. Entrance fee required. Visit www.WingsMuseum.com.
• July 16: Apollo Celebration Gala, Saturn V Center, Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Requires purchased ticket. Visit the website www.Apollo50thgala.com.
• July 16: Apollo 11 Homecoming Celebration Dinner & Program at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. Featuring celebrity guests to recognize the efforts of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center workforce and contractors who made the Apollo missions a success. Visit www.RocketCenter.com.
• July 16-20: Weeklong “First Moon Landing Celebration” at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. Featuring a series of events and exhibits. The Smithsonian began a series of events last October to lead up to the July celebration. It includes in its collection the spacecraft, spacesuits and much of the equipment that the astronauts used to achieve the first lunar landing. The museum plans to return Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit to public display for the first time in 13 years as part of this exhibit. Details will be announced at a later date, but activities are planned for inside the museum and on the National Mall. The five-day celebration will coincide with the 50th anniversaries of the Apollo 11 launch, lunar landing and moonwalk.
“We see the Apollo 50th anniversary as an opportunity to introduce a whole new generation to what happened during our lifetimes,” said Valerie Neal, space history department chair at the National Air and Space Museum. “The majority of our visitors now were born after 1969. They know the story secondhand, but they don’t have that visceral experience of it.
“We’re hoping to use this occasion to spark that kind of excitement and start thinking about what can we do in the 21st century that is comparable, whether we do it in space or we do it here on Earth.”
The museum held discussion events last October and December. For those who cannot make it to Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Channel will air on television a six-hour series, “Apollo’s Moon Shot,” featuring video from the museum. And then on July 20, Smithsonian Channel will air a one-hour special, “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” focusing on the historic Apollo mission.
• Ongoing now: For 10 months prior to the “First Moon Landing Celebration” exhibit, Air and Space Museum is featuring its touring exhibition, “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission.” The exhibit features more than 20 artifacts from the first moon landing mission, including the Apollo 11 command module “Columbia.” The touring exhibit premiered this year at Space Center Houston in Texas. It has since visited the St. Louis Science Center and the Sen. John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh.
In March it was moved to The Museum of Flight in Seattle, its last stop, through Sept. 2.
• July 18: “Go or No Go,” an hour-long talk by Gene Kranz, the Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 flight director, followed by a Q&A with the audience. 3-5 p.m. at Wilmeth Active Learning Center on the Purdue University campus. Free, with a light reception to follow. (765) 494-5178.
• July 19-21, 2019, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Summer Moon Festival at the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Neil Armstrong’s hometown will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 landing. NASA will be there with exhibits, demonstrations and activities about historic and future lunar exploration. Visit www.ArmstrongMuseum.org.
• July 19: Apollo 11 Parade from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center museum to Courthouse Square in Hunstville, Ala., featuring the Lunar Rover replica from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. A street party with dancing after the parade. Visit www.RocketCenter.com.
• July 20: All day Apollo 11-related events by the College of Engineering at Purdue University Airport, Archives and Armstrong Hall, West Lafayette, Ind. Call Stephanie McKinley at (765) 494-5178. Visit www.Purdue.edu.
• July 20: Rocket City Summer Fest Moon Landing Concert. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Hunstville, Ala., will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission with a 5 p.m. concert in the shadow of Huntsville’s iconic Saturn V replica. Visit www.RocketCenter.com.

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