March 18, 2019

Take a closer look at Neil Armstrong’s giant leaps through new Apollo exhibition

Grimm Apollo Tracy Grimm, associate head of Archives and Special Collections and Barron Hilton Archivist for flight and space exploration conducts a tour of “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers” exhibition. The exhibition is open from March 18 until Aug. 16. (Purdue University/ Mark Simons) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —The public will have a chance to get a closer glimpse into Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong’s life through an exhibition presented by Purdue Archives and Special Collections.

“Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers,” opens March 18 and runs through Aug. 16. The exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight that landed on the moon – where Armstrong took those famed first steps. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, coincides with the university’s July celebration of the moon landing, as well as the university’s sesquicentennial celebration, 150 Years of Giant Leaps.

“Neil wanted his collections to be used for both scholarship and research at his alma mater,” said Tracy Grimm, associate head of Purdue Archives and Special Collections and the Barron Hilton Archivist for Flight and Space Exploration, and curator of the exhibition. “Students and researchers have the unique opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes look at Neil’s life and legacy when they conduct research using Neil’s personal papers. This exhibition offers the public an opportunity to get to know Armstrong and the steps leading up to the Apollo 11 mission through access to Armstrong’s papers.”

A video highlighting the exhibition can be viewed here.

Grimm flag A Purdue centennial flag that was flown to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969 is just one of many items on display in “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers.” (Purdue University/Mark Simons) Download image

The exhibition charts Armstrong’s experiences leading up to Apollo 11 mission, including training and coursework, planning for how and where to land on the moon, the success of the mission itself, and the impact it had on society. The following 11 items represent a portion of the items the public can expect to see on display at “Apollo in the Archives:”

* An Apollo 11 flight suit, worn by Armstrong.

* Armstrong’s NASA astronaut program acceptance letter.

* A script for a skit written by Armstrong and Elliot See Jr., both part of the Gemini 5 backup crew.

* A bag of Gemini 8 capsule personal items.

* LLRV lunar lander research vehicle pilot flight checklist.

* Apollo translunar/transearth trajectory plotting chart from the Apollo 11 mission.

* Lunar dust disturbance on descent memorandum.

* Model of Apollo lunar lander, made by the Grumman Corp.

* Purdue centennial flag flown to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969.

* Apollo 11 lunar module lunar surface maps.

* Apollo 11 lunar module lunar ascent card.

Purdue Archives and Special Collections is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is located in the Stewart Center inside the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education library on the fourth floor of the library.

In addition to the “Apollo in the Archives,” Purdue’s Ringel Gallery, in partnership with Archives and Special Collections, will present the exhibition “Return to Entry,” which will feature artwork inspired by Armstrong’s archival collection, March 25 to May 11, in the Ringel Gallery, Stewart Center. A reception and a panel discussion will be held at 5:30 on April 4.

For this exhibition, the artists’ challenge was to bring art, engineering and science together to imagine new horizons informed by archival documents and artifacts contained in the Armstrong Papers and the papers of other astronauts and engineers. This exhibition will feature work by Frances Gallardo, Michael Oatman and Jennifer Scheuer, who will be part of the panel discussion on April 4.

These exhibitions are one of many events celebrating Purdue’s Sesquicentennial, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. The yearlong celebration is highlighting Purdue’s remarkable history of giant leaps, while focusing on what giant leaps Purdue can take to address the world’s problems. The celebration concludes in October with an astronaut reunion. 

Writer: Abbey Nickel, 765-496-1325, nickela@purdue.edu 

Source: Tracy Grimm, grimm3@purdue.edu 

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