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Neil Armstrong Celebrated With New Exhibit At Cincinnati Museum Center

Ann Thompson
The Cincinnati Museum Center hopes kids will become inspired to study space.

The Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) has a new permanent exhibit celebrating the first man to walk on the moon, an astronaut who lived for much of his life in Lebanon and Indian Hill. The Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery features unique artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission.

With such items as Armstrong's inflight jacket, communications cap and the moon rock collected where he took his first small steps, the exhibit invites would-be explorers to consider why we should explore space and what it takes to get there.

During the ribbon cutting Monday, CMC President Elizabeth Pierce referenced the exhibit's close proximity to the Children's Museum. "The next generation of space pioneers, the ones who are going to look through those windows at the Children's Museum in here, can look to the stars and wonder just how far they will go."

"This is a gallery about the triumph of hundreds of people from all walks of life all working toward the same goal, including many African Americans," says CMC Board Chair Jeff Hopkins, who talked about the mathematicians known as "human computers" featured in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Cincinnati Museum Center Board President Jeff Hopkins (center) takes in the immersive theater experience.

Visitors will also be able to experience an immersive theater with three curved screens and floor screens projecting original footage from the moon landing. An interactive display allows people to play the role of flight director. They can also put themselves in Armstrong's "Snoopy" cap for a photo op and immortalize their own first words.

Armstrong's widow, Carol Armstrong, spoke to WVXU, explaining this is only Phase One. "This is the phase that we've already experienced (in history)," she says. "They'll have sort of a figurative 'launch' from here to the future and it will be a constant influx of information."

CMC says the gallery will expand in 2020, featuring interactive and virtual reality elements, utilizing up-to-the-minute NASA briefings and information.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.