Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Acquires Yuri Gagarin Sculpture

Press Release

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 11:15am

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The National Air and Space Museum has acquired a bronze sculpture of Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in commemoration of the 55th anniversary year of the first manned flight to space. The sculpture was donated by the Embassy of Russia and the International Charitable Fund “Dialogue of Cultures—United World.” The bust, made by artist Aleksei Dmitrievitch Leonov, was presented to the museum by Ambassador Sergey Kislyak of the Russian Federation to the United States at a ceremony April 19.

“The 21st century is well underway, and for the past quarter century, the United States and the Russia Federation have turned their focus to international cooperation in space, culminating with the International Space Station,” said Cathleen Lewis, curator of international space programs at the museum. “We look forward to continuing to collect examples of spacecraft used to access the ISS, personal equipment and memorabilia from astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world in the future.”

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., 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 was 8.5 million in 2015, 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).

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  • Presentation of Yuri Gagarin Bust to the Museum

    Presentation of a bust of Yuri Gagarin by Aleksei Dmitievitch Leonov to the National Air and Space Museum on April 19, 2016.