50th Anniversary of the Apollo Program

  • Apollo 11 Command Module

Beginning in October 2018 and continuing through December 2019, organizations across the country will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program with events, programs, exhibitions and more that celebrate this iconic mission. Smithsonian Affiliates will be hosting events throughout the year. Find a celebration near you!

Calendar of Apollo Anniversary Events


Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, California) opens Achieving the Impossible: The Life and Dreams of Shelby Jacobs, a new exhibition showcasing the achievements of Shelby Jacobs, the engineer who developed the camera systems that captured amazing images during the Apollo missions, like the famous “Blue Marble” image. The exhibit runs through the Spring 2019.

The Museum of Flight (Seattle, Washington) invites you to “party like it’s 1969” during Seattle’s Summer of Space, featuring special events all summer long as we all celebrate the 50th anniversary of the very first manned mission to land on the moon.

June 2019

The Museum of Arts and Sciences (Daytona Beach, Florida) celebrates the Apollo 11 Moon Landing with Movie Night in the Planetarium, screening the biographical drama, First Man. June 14, 15, 2019.

Just in time for the historic anniversary, the Mercer Museum (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) will be showcasing an exhibition on Making Astronauts: Bucks County to the Moon, in collaboration with the Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum (JCSM). The exhibition highlights the nearby Naval Air Development Center, that helped train the astronauts who ultimately achieved the moon landing. Two programs in June help illuminate this history: on June 12, 2019, President Mike Maguire of the JCSM will talk about how Bucks County farmland was transformed into the premier research and development center for the U.S. Navy, and the role it played in America’s space program. On June 26, join JCSM’s Vice President Mark Calhoun for an overview of the Naval Center’s role in the Cold War.

July 2019

At the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (Huntsville, Alabama) in July:

The Center will commemorate Apollo 11’s journey to the moon and look to the future with America’s Next Great Ship, NASA’s Space Launch System. Rockets on Parade is a way to note Huntsville’s contributions to the space program. Model SLS rockets will be displayed around the city. July 1, 2019.

The week of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission begins with a Celebration Car Show with vehicles from the Apollo era on display. A full-scale, Polaris-powered Apollo Lunar Rover replica will also be featured at this event on the Rocket Center grounds July 13, 2019.

Launch your own rocket during the Global Rocket Launch Challenge! Join in the worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch by launching your own rocket. All types of rockets are welcome, any where and at any time. No launch is too small! Click here to register, start spreading the word, and get ready to celebrate. July 16, 2019.

Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing at the North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina)! The One Giant Leap Festival will feature hands-on crafts, demonstrations, and activities—including a virtual-reality lab where you can “travel” to space and “be” the first person on the Moon. More and more out-of-this-world fun will be announced as the festival nears, July 20!

The Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey, California) commemorates the historic moon landing with a variety of events, including:

See mission re-enactments both live and online, highlighting what happened in the Apollo Mission Support Room in Downey, CA, during the mission through live tweeting the moon landing and retrofitting their Mission Control room to appear as it did in 1969. July 16 – 24, 2019.

Join the Lunar Pub Crawl! Participants will visit local “watering holes” that remain from the Apollo Era where engineers working on the Apollo capsules frequented. Each stop will include a veteran of the Apollo Program who’ll share stories about their historic work. July 18, 2019.

The Space Center and the City of Downey (birthplace of the Apollo capsules) will be transported into the past, recreating the Downey of 1969 with activities happening all around the city. The entire community is encouraged to dress up in vintage 1969 clothing while participating in SPACETOWN, USA! July 20, 2019.

Join a 5K Moon Walk around the 88-acre site on July 21, 2019.

At the Cosmosphere (Hutchinson, Kansas) in July:

On July 18, 9-10am, Join Coffee @ the Cosmo to hear experts present on the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing while enjoying coffee and pastries.

On July 20, enjoy Landing on the Lawn, a variety of family-friendly events celebrating the anniversary of the historic lunar landing! Activities include a puppet show, a Moon “selfie” station, giant lawn games, a showing of the CBS footage of the lunar landing, Moon viewing with Space Science educators, and a screening of the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon on an outdoor screen.

The Museum of Flight (Seattle, Washington)
Visit the Destination Moon exhibition on the day the astronauts stepped foot on the moon back in 1969. July 20, 2019.

The Arecibo Observatory (Arecibo, Puerto Rico) will host an Apollo 11 Observing Night, featuring hands-on activities related to moon craters, accessible telescopes to observe the moon, special talks, videos and movies. 6:30pm on July 21, 2019.

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum (Ashland, Nebraska) will celebrate the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on July 20 starting at 9:00am with retired astronaut Clayton Anderson giving a presentation about the future of space flight. The Celebration includes hands-on activities featuring a walk on the moon through virtual reality, make a planet, take a picture with an inflatable Astronaut, watch a free planetarium show and the Apollo 11 launch video. At 10 a.m. the Museum’s newest exhibit Space: Humanity’s Longest Journey will open. The exhibit includes art and artifacts themed from a time when humans’ curiosity with the skies led to the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Mercer Museum (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) continues their Moon Landing Anniversary celebration on July 11 with a talk by former NASA Astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain Winston Scott who trained at the Naval Air Development Center in Bucks County. On July 20, the Museum will offer family activities, crafts and space-themed exploration all day long.

August 2019

The Mercer Museum will host Dr. Gloria Chisum on August 6, who conducted psychological research at the Naval Air Development Center in the early 1960s. Dr. Chisum will discuss her work there, including the development of protective eyewear for pilots operating in extreme conditions. On August 21, the Museum will show rarely-seen archival footage from the Mercury and Gemini astronaut training at the Naval Air Development Center, narrated by Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum Vice President Mark Calhoun. On August 29, the Mercer Museum welcomes NASA Solar System Ambassador Ann Schmiedekamp on the New Horizon mission and what it has revealed about Pluto and its faraway neighbors.

September 2019

Join a panel of former aerospace professionals from the Apollo Era who designed/built the spacecraft that took us to the Moon! The conversation, From L.A. to the Moon: 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Landing tells the story of humanity’s greatest technical achievement from those who made it happen. At the Columbia Memorial Space Center on September 22, 2019.

Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibition

The traveling exhibition will bring the iconic Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia and one-of-a-kind artifacts from this historic mission to four cities—its first national tour since 1970/71. Developed by the National Air and Space Museum and organized for travel by the  Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition ServiceDestination Moon tour will travel exclusively to Smithsonian Affiliates through 2019. Eyes will be on The Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, which will host the exhibition during the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing in 2019.

Tour locations and dates:

Space Center Houston |Oct. 14, 2017–March 18, 2018
Saint Louis Science Center | April 14–Sept. 3, 2018
Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh | Sept. 29, 2018–Feb. 17, 2019
The Museum of Flight, Seattle | March 16–Sept. 2, 2019

Above photo: Courtesy of Saint Louis Science Center

Smithsonian Resources

Smithsonian 3D

Go inside the Apollo 11 Command Capsule through a high-resolution 3-D scan. Anyone with an internet connection can explore the entire craft – inside and out – which is not possible when the capsule is at a museum.

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Learning Lab puts the treasures of the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex within reach. The Lab is a free, interactive platform for discovering millions of authentic digital resources, creating content with online tools, and sharing in the Smithsonian’s expansive community of knowledge and learning. Browse one of the Destination Moon collections here.

Smithsonian Channel

Smithsonian Channel logo
On July 20, 68 Affiliates across the nation will be screening The Day We Walked On The Moon, a Smithsonian Channel documentary marking the 50th anniversary of man’s first steps on the lunar surface. The program features interviews from key figures in Mission Control, Contemporary astronauts, and the families of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. Contact us at affiliates@si.edu to find a showing near you!

Moon Landing in Context Project

Over 15 months, the Moon Landing in Context project will engage in panel discussions, lectures, exhibits, and student projects to explore the history and social environment that were inevitably intertwined with the events that led to the Moon Landing or were affected by it.  Learn more here.

The project, is directed by Dr. Irene Porro of the McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning and benefits from the scholarly contribution of Framingham State University, a Smithsonian Affiliate, as well as Smithsonian Institution experts, and scholars from other academic institutions.