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

December 2018

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (McMinnville, Oregon) begins its year of Apollo celebrations with activities, special presentations, and the opening of its Earthrise Art Gallery. The kick-off celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, the second manned spaceflight in the U.S. Apollo space program. Apollo 8 was launched on December 21, 1968, and became the first manned spacecraft to leave low Earth orbit, reach the Earth’s Moon, orbit it and return safely to Earth. December 15, 2018.

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.

March 2019

Beginning in March and running through the Fall, the Columbia Memorial Space Center will be running Apollo-themed programming at different branches of the Los Angeles Public Library, ranging from activities centered around real Apollo artifacts to 1-on-1 chats with former Apollo engineers.

May 2019

USS Hornet- Sea, Air & Space Museum (Alameda, California)
In honor of the Apollo 10 mission, whose call signs included the names of Peanuts characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy, which became Apollo 10’s semi-official mascots, the Charles Schulz Museum and Research Center and the Museum will host Apollo 10 and Pop Culture: Space Travel through the Ages a panel and guest speaker discussion. May 4, 2019.

July 2019

At the Columbia Memorial Space Center  in July:

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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 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 below.