Apollo: When We Went to the Moon

On Display
Exhibition Type
Limited Time Exhibition
Time Period
1925 to Today
Business & Industry
Science & Technology
A large lunar rocket in an exhibition

Admission: Included with Museum Daily Admission

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About the Exhibition: Apollo: When We Went to the Moon chronicles the timeline from the beginning of the Space Race – a time when the U.S. and Soviet Union competed over their accomplishments in space exploration – to the collaborative culture of the International Space Station program and beyond. Through objects and artifacts from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s archives that set the scene for the era, it explores the social and political forces that pushed these nations to sacrifice man and machine in order to be the first humans to set foot on the moon. Experience the best of technology and exploration through the eyes of the engineers and in the boots of the astronauts who took us to the moon 50 years ago. 

Black and white photo of Katherine Johnson sitting at a desk writing on a large printed spreadsheet. A globe and machine sit on the desk in front of her.
Katherine G. Johnson at work, 1962. Photo by Bob Nye, courtesy of NASA Langley Research Center.

Apollo & Virginia: The Apollo 11 Moon landing (July 21, 1969) forever changed our understanding of humanity’s limitations and furthered man’s collective fascination with interplanetary travel.  While humankind is certain of when we got to the Moon, many do not know the important role Virginia played in getting us there.

The history of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton reveals the complex and sometimes dangerous work that needs to happen to take us to infinity and beyond. The VMHC has partnered with Langley to present a special section of the exhibition that explores Virginia's place in the story of how the U.S. went from having the smallest aeronautics program in the Western world to becoming the first nation to land on the Moon.

Apollo 11 Featured Artifacts

Apollo 11 crew: 3 astronauts in spacesuits hold their helmets and pose in front of a large photograph of the moon
Photo courtesy of NASA.
Apollo 11 Crew, 1969 NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

(Left to right): Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

Black and white photo of John F. Kennedy Jr. speaking at a podium in front of a large microphone
Photo courtesy of NASA.
President Kennedy Challenges NASA to Go to the Moon, 1961.

In an address to Congress on "Urgent National Needs" on May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy called for America to send astronauts to the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade.

John C. Houbolt stands in front of a blackgoard with chalk darwings of the moon and physics equations
Photo courtesy of NASA Langley Research Center.
John C. Houbolt, 1961.

 John C. Houbolt explaining his space rendezvous concept for lunar landings. The Lunar Orbital Rendezvous (LOR) would be used in the Apollo program.

Apollo: When We Went to the Moon is an original touring exhibition co-produced by U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Flying Fish.


Presented by

Supporting Sponsors

Kevin & Theresa Osborne
Linda M. Warren Special Exhibitions Fund
Conrad Mercer Hall