Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) announce new Space Exploration Gallery

CINCINNATI – On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 blasted off on what would be the first manned mission to orbit the moon and return safely, setting the stage for the successful Apollo 11 mission’s first landing just months later. Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) is preparing a new Space Exploration Gallery that will celebrate the Apollo program’s legacy and look forward to the future of space exploration. The Space Exploration Gallery is scheduled to partially open in spring 2019 and is supported by grants from the Harold C. Schott Foundation and the State of Ohio.

“Cincinnati Museum Center is uniquely equipped to tell the story of space exploration’s future by looking to the past for inspiration,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “By drawing on the innovations of the past and utilizing the revolutionary technology of tomorrow, our Space Exploration Gallery will inspire the next generation of space pioneers.”

Inspired by Ohio’s historic role in space exploration and leading-edge aerospace industry, the forward-looking Space Exploration Gallery will spread across 6,000 square feet, inviting intrepid explorers to contemplate what’s out there, why we should explore space and what it takes to get there. Stories and experiences will focus on the future of space exploration, framed by lessons from the past. The gallery will blend science and history in a dynamic way that leverages the core strength of Cincinnati Museum Center.

“We’ve been thrilled by the unique opportunity to partner with Cincinnati Museum Center’s incredible team to craft a synergy between history and science in the stunning space of Union Terminal,” says Tom Owen, vice president at PGAV Destinations, the St. Louis-based firm which conducted the master plan for CMC’s new exhibits and which is serving as the lead design firm for the Space Exploration Gallery.

The Space Exploration Gallery will open in two phases. Phase I, opening in spring 2019, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind, utilizing incredible and rare artifacts to help tell the First Man’s story and a 360-degree visual experience. Phase II, opening in fall 2019, will feature interactive and virtual reality elements, utilizing up to the minute NASA briefings and information. Additionally, guests will learn about the companies and organizations in the Greater Cincinnati region that have and continue to contribute to space exploration.

CMC has a rich connection to Neil Armstrong, who served as chairman of the Museum of Natural History and as an emeritus trustee of Cincinnati Museum Center. In 2006, NASA named Armstrong an Ambassador of Exploration in a ceremony at Union Terminal. The prestigious award honors astronauts who took part in the nation’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs, intrepid pioneers who realized America’s vision of space exploration from 1961 to 1972. During the ceremony, Armstrong was presented a moon rock to recognize his efforts, which he in turn donated to CMC to be displayed in the Museum of Natural History & Science. The moon rock will be included in the Space Exploration Gallery.

“Reaching this exciting moment is the five-year culmination of a wonderful partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center’s leadership, collaborating to craft a strategic master plan that addresses innovations in both guest circulation and experience,” says Diane Lochner, PGAV Destinations vice president. “The anniversary of Apollo 11 and Neil’s unique contributions to Cincinnati Museum Center make these fantastic new opportunities all the more unique and special.”

Cincinnati Museum Center, a Smithsonian-affiliated institution, is working with the National Air and Space Museum and NASA to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program.

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