St. Paul, Minn. – This winter and spring,the Science Museum will join in the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing with a brand new exhibit, a stunning giant screen movie, and a host of space-related programming, making it an ideal destination for science and history buffs of all ages.
“The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing was a remarkable science achievement that led us to even more extraordinary space exploration,” says Alison Rempel Brown, president and CEO of the Science Museum of Minnesota. “The Science Museum is thrilled to offer visitors a variety of ways to share fun and memorable celebrations of the landing with family and friends - to look back at the events that led up to the historic Moon mission and to look ahead at what’s next for humans in space.”
Apollo: When We Went to the Moon exhibit
On Saturday, February 1, the museum will host the kick-off to the national tour of Apollo: When We Went to the Moon. Media are invited to preview the exhibit on Friday, January 31 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This brand new, hands-on exhibition was produced by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and explores the decades-long rivalry between the United States and the USSR. Using objects and artifacts from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s archives, the exhibit sets the scene of the era and explores the social and political forces that pushed these nations to sacrifice man and machine to be the first humans to set foot on the Moon. These artifacts and objects, including an Apollo A7L spacesuit, gloves, and Moon boots, a drafting set from rocket and space technology pioneer Wernher von Braun, mission manuals and checklists, newspaper and magazine coverage of the era’s biggest stories, and a 1:10 scale model of the Saturn V rocket that carried Apollo 11 into space, highlight the turbulent nature of this pivotal era in our history. Not just limited to the space exploration milestones of the past, however, Apollo: When We Went to the Moon also looks at more recent space exploration milestones - from the collaborative culture of the International Space Station program and beyond.
Apollo: When We Went to the Moon is presented by U.S. Bank and sponsored by Delta.
Admission to Apollo: When We Went to the Moon is included in regular exhibit gallery admission ($19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids 4 to 12 and seniors).
Apollo 11: First Steps Edition Omnitheater movie
Also on February 1, Apollo 11: First Steps Edition, a giant screen version of Todd Douglas Miller’s critically-acclaimed 2019 documentary, will return to the giant screen in the William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater. Created exclusively for museums and science centers, Apollo 11: First Steps Edition shows viewers the historic Moon landing as they’ve never seen it before. Crafted from a newly-discovered trove of never-before-seen 70mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings from the National Archives, the movie reconstructs the final moments of preparation, liftoff, landing, and return of Apollo 11. The Omnitheater’s giant domed screen will give viewers an unforgettable glimpse at the days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
Apollo 11: First Steps Edition will run at 2 p.m. daily in the Omnitheater (and at 5 and 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays). Admission is $9.95 for adults and $8.95 for kids 4 to 12 and seniors (combination exhibit gallery and Omnitheater admission are also available).
Additional ways to explore space
The upcoming space celebration doesn’t end in the exhibit gallery or Omnitheater. Also at the Science Museum this winter is a lobby display on Moon rocks gathered by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 mission for the State of Minnesota, on temporary loan from the Minnesota Historical Society.
Visitors can also see the Science Museum’s original Destination Outer Space Science Live Theatre program, which gets them involved in exploring the obstacles and challenges of a journey to space. They’ll find Destination Outer Space on the Atrium Stage on level 3. The show schedule varies; visit smm.org/sciencelive for showtimes.
And a visit wouldn’t be complete without a photo with the Science Museum’s beloved giant astronaut. Having made its debut at the 2014 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, this iconic sculpture has made a permanent home in the Science Museum’s Atrium. It is more than just a sculpture, though – it’s also an interactive exhibit. Visitors can put their name on the astronaut’s nametag and project their faces onto its helmet for an out-of-this-world selfie to cap off a day of space fun.
The Science Museum of Minnesota has a 113-year history of bringing science learning to life through hands-on exhibits, giant screen films, and unparalleled educational opportunities that reach people in Minnesota and around the nation each year. For museum information, call (651) 221-9444 or visit www.smm.org.