Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing at the National Air & Space Museum! July 16 – 20

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins pose in front of the Columbia at the National Air and Space Museum in 1979. Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum/Smithsonian Institution

Are you a space program fan like I am? Would you love to reminisce and experience the Apollo 11 mission to the moon up close? Would you like to share this experience with your kiddos? Then this celebration is for you!

Celebration Details

The National Air and Space Museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with a five-day celebration at the museum and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. From July 16, exactly 50 years from the launch of Apollo 11, to July 20 (the exact day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon), visitors can take part in celebrating this momentous milestone in history. A variety of educational and commemorative activities will take place throughout the week. Regular updates will be posted to the museum’s website.

Apollo 11 command module Columbia on temporary cradle. Photo by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
Apollo 11 command module Columbia on temporary cradle. Photo by Eric Long, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

As part of the celebration, Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit will go on display July 16, for the first time in 13 years. The suit conservation was funded by thousands of public donations through a Kickstarter campaign in 2015. A state-of-the-art display case and mannequin were created to help protect the fragile suit while on display. It will be temporarily displayed near the 1903 Wright Flyer until its future home, the “Destination Moon” exhibition, is completed in approximately 2022.

Something Special for Families and Kids

The museum will present “Discover the Moon Day!” Friday, July 19, a program of educational and fun family activities where visitors will be able to interact one-on-one with museum scientists to learn about lunar exploration, research and missions. They will see high-resolution images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, view the moon in 3-D and more. They will also be able to start at the lunar module and “retrace” the astronauts’ steps, visiting stations along a route approximately equivalent to the distances the astronauts walked. The stations will be staffed by scientists and historians where visitors will see photos and maps of the area the astronauts traversed on the moon.

And on the day that the Eagle landed….

On the anniversary of the first steps on the moon, Saturday, July 20, the museum will host programming and educational activities. A celebration will culminate at the exact time (10:56 p.m. ET) the steps were taken that evening, and the public can visit the museum until 2 a.m.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Photo courtesy of NASA
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA). Photo courtesy of NASA

This sound like an amazing commemoration. I’m turning 50 in a few days, and so as I am planning celebrate the 50th anniversary of my birth, I will be sure to be there to celebrate this 50th as well!

What about you – which activity interests you the most? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments below!

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