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History Center to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Mission

- The History Center will open a new gallery within its long-term Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibit, host a special film screening, and launch an online exhibit on Google Arts & Culture -
 

 

 

 

The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing on Saturday, July 20, with a new exhibit gallery, Smithsonian Channel documentary film screening, and an online exhibition.

 

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong made history when he became the first person to set foot on the Moon. Fifty years later, we celebrate the 400,000 Americans who made that “one small step” a reality. Western Pa. innovators and companies played a crucial role in landing a man on the Moon, as explored in the Smithsonian’s blockbuster exhibition, Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, which drew more than 100,000 visitors during a four-month run at the History Center in 2018-19.

 

On Saturday, July 20, the History Center will open a 500-square-foot Destination Moon gallery within its flagship Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibition.

 

The gallery features inspiring stories, fascinating artifacts, and interactive activities that tell the story of our region’s contributions to the Apollo program, including:

 

  • A prototype camera developed by Westinghouse, which was awarded a $2.29 million contract in 1964 to create a camera that could operate on the surface of the Moon. The final product captured Armstrong’s first step on the lunar surface, witnessed by millions of television viewers around the world;

 

  • An Alcoa bulkhead prototype from the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. Before Armstrong descended the ladder to reach the lunar surface, he exited Lunar Module Eagle through this aluminum hatch door; and

 

  • A lunar lander video game interactive.

 

History Center Launches Virtual Exhibit on Google Arts & Culture

 

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the History Center has launched an online exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture platform as part of Google’s special project, “A Giant Leap for Mankind.” The History Center’s virtual exhibition, Pittsburgh Goes to the Moon, joins online exhibits from NASA, the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, the U.S. National Archives, Adler Planetarium, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, The Interviews: An Oral History of Television, and the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

Google Arts & Culture is an immersive way to experience art, history, culture, and world wonders from over a thousand organizations worldwide. The History Center is one of just two cultural institutions in Western Pa. to partner with Google Arts & Culture.

 

Smithsonian Screening: The Day We Walked on the Moon

 

The History Center will host a special screening of the new Smithsonian Channel documentary film, “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” on Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m.

 

“The Day We Walked on the Moon” unfolds with a minute-by-minute description of those 24 hours when humanity first stepped on to the Moon – told by the people who witnessed it.

 

Astronauts (including Michael Collins from the Apollo 11 crew), members of Mission Control (including Flight Director Gene Kranz, Capsule Communicator Charles Duke, and Guidance Officer Steve Bales), and the children of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin reveal their personal stories behind the scenes of the iconic day. Pop culture notables like Queen guitarist and doctor of astrophysics Brian May and television personality and professor of physics Brian Cox describe where they were and what they felt during that “one small step.”

 

The hour-long screening will be followed by a short conversation and Q&A with a History Center curator about Pittsburgh’s contributions to the Moon landing.

 

The screening of “The Day We Walked on the Moon” is FREE with regular museum admission.

 

Thanks to UPMC, Eden Hall Foundation, and Pittsburgh Foundation for their generous support of the Destination Moon gallery within the Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibit.

 

The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania, presents American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection. The History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District, and are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The History Center’s museum system includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in historic Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Pa. in Washington County. More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.

 

 

 

The Senator John Heinz History Center will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing mission on Saturday, July 20, with a new exhibit gallery, Smithsonian Channel documentary film screening, and an online exhibition. (photo courtesy of NASA)

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