The National Air and Space Museum

Artwork courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum

Millions of past visitors to the Smithsonian have fond memories of Apollo to the Moon, the National Air and Space Museum’s original exhibit about the 20th century space race. After opening in 1976, the gallery was modified several times over the decades, until construction to refresh the National Mall building began in 2018. Destination Moon, scheduled to open in 2022, is a worthy successor to that exhibit, a new telling of the lunar exploration story for the 21st century.

At the time Apollo to the Moon opened, almost all visitors had personally experienced the moon race, if only through their TV sets. The exhibit had many historic artifacts on display, including a giant F-1 engine from the Saturn V rocket and Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s Apollo 11 spacesuits. But there was little in the way of explanation or context.

When the curatorial team began planning the replacement exhibit a decade ago, we could no longer assume the average visitor knew much about the cold war or the 1960s space race. Already by then, the majority of our visitors had been born after Apollo. And we could no longer end the story with the last astronaut landing—robotic lunar exploration had resumed in the 1990s. Destination Moon will therefore present lunar exploration in a broader frame, from ancient dreams to missions still in the planning stage.

Read the full article here.

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