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Apollo 11 command module highlights Smithsonian exhibition coming to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) today announced that CMC will be the fifth and final stop on the national tour of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. The exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission and explores the birth and development of the American space program and space race. Destination Moon opens at CMC on September 28.

Organized by SITES and the National Air and Space Museum, Destination Moon features the Apollo 11 command module Columbia – the only portion of the historic spacecraft to return to Earth after the first mission to land a man on the Moon and safely return him home. Through more than 20 original Apollo 11-flown objects, models and videos, guests learn about the historic journey of the Apollo 11 crew – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our region to see this national treasure as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of such a historic moment,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “We are honored to bring this iconic piece of history to Cincinnati as inspiration to our region for the next giant leap.”

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 met President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Destination Moon explores what led the United States to accept this challenge and how the resulting 953,054-mile voyage to the Moon and back was accomplished just eight years after the program was authorized. The exhibition examines the mission and sheds light on some of the more than 400,000 people employed in NASA programs who worked through the trials, tragedies and triumphs of the 20 missions from 1961 to 1969 culminating with Apollo 11’s historic feat.

Destination Moon marks the first time Columbia has left the National Air and Space Museum since the museum opened to the public in 1976. Before entering the collection, the command module traveled on a 50-state tour throughout 1970 and 1971, covering more than 26,000 miles. It then went on display in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building before the current National Air and Space Museum was built on the National Mall. The traveling exhibition previews part of a new gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, which is scheduled to open in 2022.

Tickets for Destination Moon go on sale July 20 and are available at

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission is made possible by the support of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, Joe Clark, Bruce R. McCaw Family Foundation, the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, John and Susann Norton and Gregory D. and Jennifer Walston Johnson. Transportation services for Destination Moon are provided by FedEx.

CMC is grateful for the support of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, the Farmer Family Foundation and the Harold C. Schott Foundation.

For more information, visit