FWMSH exhibit celebrates Apollo 11, moon landing

Astronaut Alan L. Bean, lunar module pilot, is photographed at quadrant II of the Lunar Module (LM) during the first Apollo 12 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the moon. This picture was taken by astronaut Charles Conrad Jr., commander. Here, Bean is using a fuel transfer tool to remove the fuel element from the fuel cask mounted on the LM's descent stage. The fuel element was then placed in the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG), the power source for the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) which was deployed on the moon by the two astronauts. The RTG is next to Bean's right leg. While astronauts Conrad and Bean descended in the LM "Intrepid" to explore the Ocean of Storms region of the moon, astronaut Richard F. Gordon Jr., command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Yankee Clipper" in lunar orbit.

Almost a half century ago history was made when Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon. Apollo 11 was the ship on which he and Buzz Aldrin stepped off on July 20, 1969.

Those first steps on the moon were the culmination of a challenging and sometimes grim journey, the realization of what seemed an impossible dream and the beginning of new dawn in exploration. It’s all going to be relived this summer at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in an exhibit that opens June 1.

“Launchpad: Apollo 11 Promises Kept” is a new exhibition opening June 1 that is designed and curated by the museum. It commemorates the milestone anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. It also introduces V-Drome 2020, a preview of an exciting new theatrical experience planned for 2020.

“The Apollo 11 moon landing marked one of those moments in time that defined us as a generation, a nation and even as a civilization,” Fort Worth Museum of Science and History President Van A. Romans said. “It was a promise fulfilled, and that is why this exhibition is an appropriate backdrop to introduce the V-Drome.”

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The V-Drome preview includes a pre-show experience with a comprehensive overview of a planned expansion at the museum. The enclosed 360-degree theater reveals the technology and science behind the V-Drome fly-over theater experience and how it will be used to provide unique educational opportunities for learners of all ages.

“For generations, this museum has had a commitment to innovative learning experiences, and the introduction of our new 4-D fly-over theater marks a milestone for education, as well. The V-Drome turns digital content into an absolutely immersive and unforgettable experience,” Romans said.

Romans added that the V-Drome is the fulfillment of the museum’s commitment to the Academy of Digital Learning (ADL), which was created to deepen our understanding of the world around us through transmedia storytelling.

“Thanks to ADL, guests will be engaged in creative learning experiences within a rich and nurturing environment,” he said.

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“Launchpad: Apollo 11 Promises Kept” features space artifacts from the museum’s significant collection, custom-built interactive exhibits and a cutting-edge layer of technology to create an immersive and exciting cosmic journey. This 10,000 square-foot exhibition pays tribute to the past and future of space exploration with a collection of Apollo-era artifacts and interactive technology.

“Fifty years ago, we first set foot upon the moon,” Astrophysicist and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Doug Roberts said. “I think it’s interesting to ponder where we will be 50 years from now.”

Roberts leads the museum’s Academy of Digital Learning team, which was instrumental in curating the artifacts and developing multimedia content featured in the exhibition.

“Launchpad weaves physical artifacts with the virtual and artistic experiences with academic. I am hopeful our visitors will find a story to excite and inspire them,” he said.

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The new exhibition includes objects that visited the Moon, including the United States and City of Fort Worth flags carried to the moon’s surface by the lunar lander Intrepid, as well as mission checklists with handwritten notes by Apollo 12 astronaut and Fort Worth native, Alan Bean, who was the fourth man to walk on the Moon.

Following his retirement, Bean pursued his interest in painting. The exhibition also features an original Bean painting, prints of several others, plus the astronaut’s essays describing his work.

Additional highlights include:

*Roving on Mars – Cutting-edge augmented reality technology puts guests in the middle of the action as Curiosity Rover goes to work on a life-size reproduction of the Martian landscape.

*Journey of Apollo and Beyond – Artifacts tell the story of six decades of space exploration. Highlights include rarely seen photographs, audio clips and video from NASA’s earliest days in space.

*Science of Space – From gyroscopes to special cameras, space is full of fascinating science. Interact with hands-on activities to learn about physics, chemistry and engineering and learn how astronomers study the universe.

*Art of Space – For centuries, humans have tried to capture the mystery of the cosmos and the wonder it evokes through expressions in art. This exhibit explores those ideas and encourages guests of all ages to create works of their own.

*VR Laboratory: You can’t (yet) book that trip to the moon, but you can see what astronauts saw in stunning virtual reality (VR). Launchpad’s VR laboratory includes more than a dozen headsets to explore the past, present and future in space.

For more information about the exhibition and special Apollo 50th programming planned to commemorate the Moon landing anniversary this summer, please visit www.fortworthmuseum.org.