This July marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. To commemorate the landmark space mission, the Cincinnati Museum Center today (May 6) opened the permanent Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery exhibit.
Armstrong, aka the first person to walk on the moon, is also a native Ohioan. Before taking "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," he was born in the city of Wapakoneta, Ohio. Later, after the Apollo 11 mission, he would go on to teach in the department of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He lived in Indian Hill until his death in 2012.
According to a press release, the gallery will feature interactive elements, original equipment and artifacts from the mission, as well as an interactive theater component. Items include Armstrong's inflight jacket, which he wore under his spacesuit, and his under-the-helmet communication "Snoopy" cap — both are on loan from the National Air and Space Museum. (You can don the Snoopy cap for a photo-op.)
Guests will also get the chance to view moon rock collected from the Sea of Tranquility — where Armstrong took his first steps — and an exact replica of his Apollo 11 spacesuit, which has been part of CMC's collection for years.
“This gallery celebrates the success of Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission by reliving the historic moment Neil took his first small step 50 years ago,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of CMC, in a release. “This is a story Cincinnati Museum Center is uniquely equipped to tell, looking to the past for inspiration as we prepare for the future of space exploration, inspiring a new generation of space pioneers.”
Armstrong's ties to the CMC run deep: At one time, Armstrong served as a chairman to the Museum of Natural History and was an emeritus trustee. And in 2006, NASA honored Armstrong as an Ambassador of Exploration in a ceremony that took place at Union Terminal.
The exhibition will roll out in two phases. Come 2020, the gallery will expand and look toward "the next generation of space exploration" via interactive and virtual reality elements, according to the release.
The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery is presented with the support of the Harold C. Schott Foundation, Tom and Francie Hiltz trustees, and grants from the State of Ohio.
For more info, visit cincymuseum.org.