Apollo to the Moon: A History in Objects

Time Period
1925 to Today
Media Type
Politics & Government
Science & Technology
Teasel Muir-Harmony

On July 20, 2023, historian and curator Teasel Muir-Harmony gave a lecture on the Apollo program, told through key objects of the Space Age. Project Apollo ranks among the most bold and challenging undertakings of the 20th century. Within less than a decade, the United States leapt from suborbital spaceflight to landing humans on the moon and returning them safely back to Earth. Hundreds of thousands of people helped make these missions possible, while billions more around the world followed the flights. The material legacy of these missions is immense—with thousands of artifacts from rocket engines to spacesuits to the ephemera of life aboard a spacecraft represented in the Smithsonian’s collections. Now, more than fifty years after the last lunar landing, Teasel Muir-Harmony, curator of Apollo collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, reassesses the history of Project Apollo through the most evocative objects of the Space Age. She examines artifacts that highlight how Project Apollo touched people’s lives, both within the space program and around the world. More than space hardware alone, the objects she features reflect the deep interconnection between Project Apollo and broader developments in American society and politics.

Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony is a historian of spaceflight and the curator of the Apollo Collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Her research focuses on the exploration of the Moon, from debates about lunar governance to the use of spaceflight as soft power, the topic of her award-winning book, Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo (2020). She is the author of Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects (2018) and an advisor to the television series Apollo’s Moon Shot. In addition, Muir-Harmony co-organizes the Space Policy & History Forum and teaches at Georgetown University.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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