WASHINGTON — The command module Columbia, which carried the first men to walk on the moon in 1969, will embark on another journey in October, a national tour leading up to the 50th anniversary of the historic feat.
“Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” will visit museums in Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Seattle over the next two years, winding up at Seattle’s Museum of Flight on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, July 20, 2019.
The command module, the only part of the spacecraft to return to earth, was the main living area for the three-man crew of Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. It has been displayed at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington for the past 46 years since a 50-state tour in 1970-1971.
An interactive 3-D tour, created from high-resolution scans of Columbia performed at the Smithsonian in spring 2016, will allow visitors to explore the entire craft including its intricate interior, which has previously been inaccessible the public.
Several objects from the Apollo 11 mission will also be featured in the exhibit, including gloves and a visor Aldrin wore on the moon, a star chart used onboard and a rock box that brought back the first samples from the moon’s surface.
The traveling exhibition previews part of a new gallery at the National Air and Space Museum, slated to open in 2021, that tells the story of human exploration of the moon.
The schedule for the tour is:
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. 18, 2019
The Museum of Flight, Seattle — March 16–Sept. 2, 2019