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Armstrong Air & Space Museum marks 50th anniversary

Armstrong Air and Space Museum.jpg
The Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum was officially dedicated at 2 p.m. on July 20, 1972. Fifty years later — to the minute — the museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, is marking its 50th anniversary.

The museum came about shortly after astronaut — and Wapakoneta native son — Neil Armstrong made his memorable walk on the moon. During a parade upon his return, Gov. James A. Rhodes suggested honoring Armstrong and the U.S. space program with a museum.

"This anniversary is really just to help celebrate where we have been, and to thank everyone that has contributed the last 50 years," says Logan Rex, the museum's communications director. "It really shows that these moments and space history do mean a lot to people."

statue of a seated boy holding an airplane with the museum in the background

The Armstrong Museum has a day of events planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary. They include opening a new exhibit; re-dedicating the museum; a panel of specialists discussing the museum's design and construction; a laser-light show; and a meet and greet with former NASA astronaut Greg H. Johnson. The evening will cap off with a gala featuring Larry Connor, the Dayton entrepreneur-turned-astronaut who piloted the private Axiom Ax-1.

The museum is looking ahead to the future, too.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to start launching our next 'giant leap,' as we like to call it, as to what the museum will look like in 50 years," Rex explains. "We will be announcing our new 10-year plan for the museum; we'll be going into our expansion projects. Space is one of those areas of history that (is) continuing to grow constantly, so as a museum dedicated to aviation and space history, we have to keep up with the times."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.