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New gallery celebrates Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind in time for Apollo 11 50th anniversary

Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery features rare artifacts and interactive elements at Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) today unveiled the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation, a new permanent exhibit celebrating the legacy of the historic Apollo 11 mission. The gallery features interactive elements, original equipment and artifacts from the mission and an immersive theater component. The gallery will expand next year to look toward the future of space exploration. 

Inspired by Ohio’s historic role in space exploration and the 50th anniversary of the historic moon landing, the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery invites intrepid explorers to consider why we should explore space and what it takes to get there. The gallery blends science and history in a dynamic way that leverages the core strength of CMC.

The gallery features four unique artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission. The inflight jacket worn under Armstrong’s spacesuit and the communications cap – or Snoopy cap – worn under his helmet are both included in the gallery, on loan from the National Air and Space Museum. An exact replica of his Apollo 11 spacesuit has been part of the Museum of Natural History & Science for years and returns with the gallery opening. And of course the moon rock collected at Tranquility Bay where Armstrong took his first small steps is also on display.

An immersive theater experience using three curved screens and floor screens to project original footage from the moon landing as guests walk around a projection globe in the center, giving the impression they are part of history. An interactive display allows you to play the role of flight director, answering questions and solving problems that pop up during the mission to safely return the astronauts home. You can also put yourself in Armstrong’s Snoopy cap for a photo op and immortalize the moment with your own first words. A display with articles, quizzes and photos dives further into the historic mission and the future of space exploration.

“This gallery celebrates the success of Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission by reliving the historic moment Neil took his first small step 50 years ago,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “This is a story Cincinnati Museum Center is uniquely equipped to tell, looking to the past for inspiration as we prepare for the future of space exploration, inspiring a new generation of space pioneers.”

CMC has a rich connection to Neil Armstrong, who served as chairman of the Museum of Natural History and as an emeritus trustee of CMC. In 2006, NASA named Armstrong an Ambassador of Exploration in a ceremony at Union Terminal. The prestigious award honors astronauts who took part in the nation’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs, intrepid pioneers who realized America’s vision of space exploration from 1961 to 1972. During the ceremony, Armstrong was presented a moon rock to recognize his efforts, which he in turn donated to CMC to be displayed in the Museum of Natural History & Science. The moon rock is included in the Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery.

The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery will expand in 2020 as we look to the next generation of space exploration, featuring interactive and virtual reality elements, utilizing up to the minute NASA briefings and information.

The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation is supported by the Harold C. Schott Foundation and grants from the State of Ohio. The gallery was designed by PGAV Destinations and Cincinnati Museum Center.

Cincinnati Museum Center, a Smithsonian-affiliated institution, is working with the National Air and Space Museum and NASA to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program.


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