Apollo: When We Went to the Moon

40 seconds away… your seat is trembling…. Ignition sequence starts… there’s no way back. Six seconds and counting… the entire world is watching as the U.S. makes history. Countdown for Apollo 11, the flight to land the first man on moon. Commander Neil Armstrong is on board the 363-foot-tall rocket in Cape Kennedy. Good luck and Godspeed!

“Apollo: When We Went to the Moon” launches you back to the space race in 1969. Get a glance at artifacts from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s archives, make footprints on a virtual moon and climb aboard a lunar rover model in this multi-sensory exhibition.

Exhibition Walkthrough

“Apollo: When We Went to the Moon” explores the causes and forces that sparked the space race, a decades long rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. The exhibition, featuring objects and artifacts from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s archives, sets the scene of
the era, exploring the social and political forces that pushed these nations to be the first to set foot on the moon. "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon" is a touring exhibition co-produced by The U.S. Space and Rocket Center and Flying Fish.

1. Introduction, Cold War, Satellites and Their Launchers

You’ll be greeted with scale models and real components from early rockets and spacecraft. Speeches from President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev are presented face to face as guests learn about the United States and Soviet Union efforts to reach the moon.

2. Space Race and Contributors

Explore an interactive map projection that highlights major political influences throughout the space race. Learn about the tools and the roles of designers, engineers and mathematicians that contributed to Apollo missions, from lead engineer of Saturn rockets, Wernher von Braun to female analysts known as “human computers” who influenced nearly every aspect of the space program.

3. The JFK Imperative

Not only was the space race a major influence during the ’60s, but there was also major change throughout the geopolitical, social and economic landscape throughout the United States. Explore President Kennedy’s integral role during this period through letters written to influential individuals of the time, as well as how his assassination affected the country and spurred on the space race. As signs of the time, you'll see images, buttons and clothing in support of the Civil Rights movement, artifacts from the Vietnam War and appeals for peace.

4. Saturn V Launch

The development of the Saturn V rocket marked a pivotal moment in the space race. On the morning of July 16, 1969, the massive rocket launched the first astronauts to land on the moon: Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins. Models of capsules and rockets leave you to marvel at the technology and equipment that made these first steps possible.

5. On the Lunar Surface

In this section, you’ll learn about the tools, processes and equipment utilized throughout the Apollo 11 mission. Get an up-close look at the Apollo A7L spacesuit, including the hand molds used to ensure astronauts’ gloves had a tight grip and different visors used for protection against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Participate in an interactive display of the terrain on the moon, where your footsteps virtually appear on the lunar surface, and sit in a model of a lunar rover from the last mission to the moon.

6. The Apollo Gallery

Review plans for subsequent Apollo missions including Apollo 17, the last moon landing. Touch a piece of the moon, try on a replica astronaut glove and learn about creative solutions for everyday tasks in microgravity. 

7. A Way Forward Together

By the 1970s, both the Unites States and Soviet Union made huge advancements toward space travel, technology and engineering. New missions and methods are showcased through models of the next generation of spacecraft.

Take the Exhibition With You

Our Newest Collection

Shop our collection of special items to go along with our most recent temporary exhibition, "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon". 

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Scientists in Action: Live from the International Space Station

Recommended Grades 4- 12

Blast off! Tune in to this exciting broadcast to learn what it’s like to live hundreds of miles away from Earth and what types of science are happening aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Museum scientist KaChun Yu answers real-time student questions before connecting with the ISS, where astronaut Kjell Lindgren answers pre-recorded questions from students around the country.

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