Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission

OPENS SEPTEMBER 2018

The Senator John Heinz History Center is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution to bring a blockbuster exhibition of lunar proportions to Pittsburgh.

Beginning on Sept. 29, 2018, the History Center will serve as the northeast host for the national tour of Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission, a traveling exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

Along with dozens of artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission, the exhibition’s centerpiece is the Command Module Columbia – the only portion of the historic spacecraft to complete the first mission to land a man on the moon and safely return him to Earth.

It will mark the first time in 46 years that the Command Module Columbia will leave the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The Destination Moon exhibition will visit four Smithsonian Affiliates in two years while the National Air and Space Museum completes extensive renovations leading up to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in 2019.

Through dozens of original Apollo 11-flown objects, models, videos and interactives, visitors will learn about the historic journey of the Apollo 11 crew—Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

Destination Moon will include an interactive 3-D tour, created from high-resolution scans of Columbia performed at the Smithsonian in spring 2016. The interactives will allow visitors to explore the entire craft including its intricate interior, an interior that has been inaccessible to the public until now.

Visitors to the History Center’s Destination Moon exhibition will also learn how Pittsburgh companies and innovators used their “We Can Do It!” spirit to play an important role in the Apollo 11 mission, including contributions from North American Rockwell, ALCOA, Westinghouse, Union Switch & Signal, and others.

Exhibit Must-Sees
  • Command Module Columbia – Columbia is the only part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to return intact to Earth. It carried the crew, equipment and precious lunar samples through a fiery reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Columbia Hatch – The hatch served as the entry and exit point to the spacecraft on the launch pad and after landing. It could also have been used for an emergency transfer from the lunar module Eagle if docking failed.
  • Star Chart – The chart shows the positions of the sun, moon and stars at the time Apollo 11 was scheduled to leave Earth orbit and head for the moon.
  • Aldrin’s Extravehicular Visor – Buzz Aldrin wore this outer helmet while on the surface of the moon. It fitted over his clear pressure-bubble helmet.
  • Aldrin’s Extravehicular Gloves – These gloves have an outer, cut-resistant shell of Chromel-R fabric across the hands to prevent fatal air leaks caused by handling sharp objects and gauntlets to protect against solar heating. The blue fingertips were made of silicone rubber to provide more sensitivity for touching.

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