CINCINNATI — A new exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and legacy of Neil Armstrong opened Monday at the Cincinnati Museum Center to a crowd of parents and children.
“We could imagine all the tens of thousands of school kids that are going to walk into this exhibit and get excited. Get excited about science,” said Gov. Mike DeWine, who attended a ribbon cutting for the permanent exhibit, “The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery.”
Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.
On July 20, Armstrong took “one giant leap for mankind,” followed by Aldrin about 20 minutes later.
The gallery features artifacts from that mission — including the communications headset worn by Armstrong when he spoke those famous words. Also, a moon rock presented to Armstrong for his efforts in space exploration.
“The moon rock is quite rare because it’s actually an Apollo 11 moon rock,” said Dave Duszynski, vice president of featured experiences for Cincinnati Museum Center. “On that first mission there was a lot of concern about bringing back too much weight — whether they’d be able to get off the moon or not, so they were very judicious in how much rock and soil samples they brought back.”
The first phase of the exhibit showcases the First Man’s story, and also his role in the Cincinnati community.
Armstrong, an Ohio native, served as chairman of the Museum of Natural History and as an emeritus trustee of Cincinnati Museum Center. NASA named Armstrong an Ambassador of Exploration in a ceremony that took place at Union Terminal in 2006.
The second phase of the exhibit is expected to open this fall.
“We’re going to be more forward looking about the fact that we are going to be going back to the moon,” Duszynski said, “and we look to establish a base on the moon from which we can explore deeper into the solar system. The next logical outpost of course is the planet Mars.”
The Cincinnati Museum Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more information.