As the Museum celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, we also celebrate some of the unique pieces of memorabilia created to mark that human achievement. In addition to the pins, patches, buttons, medals, matchbooks, sweatshirts, and commemorative plates the Smithsonian holds in the national collection, this unique ladies handbag is one of my favorites.
Only two survived the crash of the Wingfoot Express—Henry Wacker, the chief mechanic, and John Boettner, the pilot. They became known as members one and two of the Caterpillar Club, an organization formed in November 1922 consisting of people who had used parachutes to make an emergency jump.
Before returning Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit to display in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, it underwent extensive conservation and a state-of-the-art display case and mannequin was designed to protect it while on display.
Working with the museum, the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office 3D scanned Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, helmet, and gloves. The resulting 3D models, which have been fully annotated by the suit’s curator and conservator, are now available.
From an outsider’s perspective, Lamar Dodd must have seemed like an unlikely choice for a commission to create paintings on the subject of space. Dodd was in the first group recruited for the NASA Art Program, which tasked artists with translating the cultural and scientific monumentality of the space missions to a national audience.
On July 11, 1969 – only 5 days before Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin set out on their journey to the Moon – a relatively unknown British musician named David Bowie released a single titled Space Oddity.