FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2019
Cody Hefner (513) 608-5777,
Jennifer Schommer, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, (202) 633-3121,

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission opens at Cincinnati Museum Center

Smithsonian exhibition brings a national treasure to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) has brought a national treasure to the region. As the world continues to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Moon landing, CMC is giving guests the opportunity to see objects that made the moment possible, including the Apollo 11 command module Columbia, the only portion of the historic spacecraft to return to Earth. Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission opens September 28.

Organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and National Air and Space Museum, Destination Moon features more than 20 original Apollo 11-flown objects plus models and videos that detail historic journey of the Apollo 11 crew – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
The star of the exhibition is the Apollo 11 command module Columbia – the spacecraft that carried the three astronauts to orbit around the Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the surface in the lunar module Eagle while Collins piloted the Columbia in orbit. The two astronauts on the Moon reunited with Collins in the Columbia two days later and traveled home. After splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, the three astronauts emerged out of the bobbing Columbia international heroes.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our region to see this iconic piece of history as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of such a historic moment,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “We are honored to bring this national treasure to Cincinnati as inspiration to our region for the next giant leap.”

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 met President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Destination Moon explores what led the United States to accept this challenge and how the resulting 953,054-mile voyage to the moon and back was accomplished just eight years after the program was authorized. The exhibition examines the mission and sheds light on some of the more than 400,000 people employed in NASA programs who worked through the trials, tragedies and triumphs of the 20 missions from 1961 to 1969 culminating with Apollo 11’s historic feat.

Destination Moon marks the first time Columbia has left the National Air and Space Museum since the museum opened to the public in 1976. Before entering the collection, the command module traveled on a 50-state tour throughout 1970 and 1971, covering more than 26,000 miles. It then went on display in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building before the current National Air and Space Museum was built on the National Mall. The traveling exhibition previews part of a new gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, which is scheduled to open in 2022.

Tickets for Destination Moon are available at

A New Moon Rises

The Moon is not the same place as when astronauts last stepped foot on it. A New Moon Rises, a companion gallery to Destination Moon produced by the Smithsonian, features stunning large-scale photographs of the lunar surface captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Cameras (LROC) between 2009 and 2015. The highly detailed photographs reveal a celestial neighbor that is surprisingly dynamic and full of grandeur and wonder.

A New Moon Rises was created by the National Air and Space Museum and the Arizona State University, and is organized for travel by SITES. It is included with admission to Destination Moon.

Complete your Apollo 11 experience – OMNIMAX® film and Neil Armstrong gallery

Relive the historic mission in stunning detail in the OMNIMAX® film Apollo 11: First Steps Edition. The immersive film uses original, never-before-seen 70mm footage and over 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings of the mission from NASA and the National Archives. By exclusively using original content, you experience the mission moving forward, feeling the apprehension and resolve of those involved in the mission as they proceed without the hindsight of success. Apollo 11: First Steps Edition will show in the OMNIMAX Theater through the run of the Destination Moon exhibition.

And don’t miss Neil Armstrong’s original communications cap and his inflight jacket both worn during the Apollo 11 mission and on loan from the National Air and Space Museum. They can be seen in CMC’s permanent Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation. You can also see a Moon rock collected during the Apollo 11 mission, donated to CMC by Armstrong himself in 2009, and a replica of Armstrong’s spacesuit. A 360-degree immersive theater helps tell the story of the Apollo program and the life of Armstrong. The gallery is a permanent display in the Museum of Natural History & Science.

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission is made possible by the support of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, Joe Clark, Bruce R. McCaw Family Foundation, the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, John and Susann Norton and Gregory D. and Jennifer Walston Johnson.

CMC is grateful for the support of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, the Farmer Family Foundation, the Harold C. Schott Foundation, Western & Southern Financial Group and JobsOhio.


About Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) at Union Terminal is a nationally recognized institution and national historic landmark. Dedicated to sparking community dialogue, insight and inspiration, CMC was awarded the 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and received accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums in 2012. CMC is one of a select few museums in the nation with both of these honors, making it a unique asset and a vital community resource. Union Terminal has been voted the nation's 45th most important building by the American Institute of Architects. Organizations within CMC include the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and Cincinnati History Library & Archives. Recognized by Forbes Traveler Magazine as the 17th most visited museum in the country, CMC welcomes more than one million visitors annually. For more information, visit

About the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, DC for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit

About the National Air and Space Museum
The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, DC is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, VA, near Washington Dulles International Airport. Attendance at both buildings combined exceeded 9 million in 2016, making it the most visited museum in America. The museum’s research, collections, exhibitions and programs focus on aeronautical history, space history and planetary studies. Both buildings are open from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25). Visit online at