Cincinnati Museum Center’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery

There are so many amazing feats that are taken for granted with today’s kids. And what happened on July 20, 1969 is probably one of those things. On this date, US Astronaut Neil Armstrong made history when he landed on the Moon. This event is a spectacular accomplishment of imagination, technology and the power of mankind… and there’s a brand-new exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center that celebrates this truly extraordinary feat.

Cincinnati Museum Center’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery just opened and allows for a truly immersive, out-of-this world experience.

Presented by Harold C. Schott Foundation, the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery is a new permanent exhibit that celebrates the legacy of the Apollo 11 mission. The gallery features unique artifacts and equipment from the Apollo 11 mission, plus lots of fun, kid-friendly interactives. As with all CMC exhibits, what makes the Neil Armstrong Gallery so special is how immersive and accessible everything is.

The Gallery features so many things you can see (and touch!): real moon rock from Armstrong’s first steps; Armstrong’s hulking space suit and cap. You can even snap a photo of yourself inside a “Snoopy” cap on the Moon. Harvey eagerly explored it all — while he enjoyed the touch screens, it was Armstrong’s hulking space suit that really caught his attention. My kids are all outer-space-obsessed, and I can’t wait to return with my 8- and 6-year olds this summer.

The coolest part about the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, however, is the theatre. It’s a 360 degree room with three large screens spanning the sides, plus additional screens on the floor. In this room, you’ll get to experience something magical. The Apollo 11 mission plays out on each screen, from the Saturn V’s takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center, up through the atmosphere, into outer space and toward the Moon. With surrounding screens and speakers, you truly feel you’re there. 

After a nail-biting lunar landing and dreamlike dance onto the Moon’s surface, Armstrong utters the now-iconic pronouncement: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The whole experience was sublime, and my rocket-obsessed preschooler was literally speechless during Armstrong’s time on the Moon.

I think that sometimes the magnitude of these monumental, world-changing historical moments can get lost today, when we have technology-at-our-fingertips all the time and access to information, videos and images in an instant. What happened 50 years ago on the Moon has become almost a cultural cliché, and because of that, I admit it’s not something I have ever stopped and really thought about. When I did, thanks to the CMC’s Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, I was moved to tears because while humans can get so many things wrong, in 1969 we put a man on the Moon. And that’s truly something to celebrate.

The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery is now open in the Museum of Natural History & Science. Admission is free for Members or included in Discovery Pass. Learn more here.

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