This Apollo 16 launch viewing paper hat sponsored by RCA was owned by John Bickers, a Public Affairs representative for the McDonnell Company (later McDonnell Douglas), an aerospace company that held contracts with NASA throughout Project Mercury, the Gemini program, the Apollo program, and the Space Shuttle program. The slits in the middle form the domed cap behind the flat bill when the ends are bent around and fastened.
In addition to performing a useful practical function at a launch in sunny Florida, the flat paper hat, a promotional item for RCA, also became a piece of memorabilia of the event. Owning or wearing this paper hat would demonstrate one's connection to the program and one's presence at the launch. As a result, this hat reminds us of the numerous people who supported and witnessed human spaceflight.
During his tenure with McDonnell, Bickers compiled and edited Press Reference Books for the Gemini Space Missions and supported early Space Shuttle flights.
He donated the hat to the National Collection in 2007.
Gift of John Bickers