Armstrong Air and Space Museum

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The entrance to the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in August 2012
The Gemini 8 spacecraft flown by Armstrong and David Scott in 1966

The Armstrong Air and Space Museum is a museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, United States, the hometown of Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the Moon. The museum chronicles Ohio's contributions to the history of space flight. Among the items on display are an F5D Skylancer, the Gemini 8 spacecraft in which Armstrong flew (and in which he made the first space docking), Apollo 11 artifacts and a Moon rock. In the museum's Astro-theater, multimedia presentations of the sights and sounds of space unfold against a starry background.

The Armstrong Museum is located just west of Interstate 75 at exit 111 (Bellefontaine Street) in Wapakoneta. The museum is operated by the Ohio Historical Society and had no formal relationship with Armstrong prior to his death. The museum is a component of the National Aviation Heritage Area.[1]

The F5D Skylancer on display outside the museum

Neil Armstrong's early years[edit]

Neil Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 on his grandparents' farm, in Auglaize County, near Wapakoneta. He had a sister, June, and a brother, Dean. His parents were Stephen and Viola Armstrong. They raised their family in the small town of Wapakoneta.[2]

Armstrong's Navy uniforms
Exhibit Hall showing Soviet space display and the first American astronauts

Museum history[edit]

At the time of Neil Armstrong's first step onto the Moon, then Ohio Governor James Rhodes proposed to build a museum in Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta in his honor. The museum also was to honor "all Ohioans who have attempted to defy gravity."[3]

Today, exhibits also detail the feats of the Wright Brothers and Ohioan astronaut John Glenn.

Through Governor Rhodes, the State of Ohio pledged $500,000 dependent on local matching funds. A total of $528,313.55 was raised by Wapakoneta residents and other interested parties, including school children who held fund-raising drives."[3] Groundbreaking took place in 1970. The design was unique with earth mounded around the steel-reinforced concrete building, giving the building the semblance of being underground."[3] Its distinguishing feature is a large globe dome that houses the Astro Theater. On July 20, 1972, three years after the historic Moon landing, the museum held its grand opening, honored by the attendance of Armstrong and of Tricia Nixon Cox, standing in for her father, Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States."[3]

Late at night on July 28, 2017, a solid gold replica of an Apollo Lunar Module was stolen.[4]

Museum exhibits[edit]

The museum features many one-of-a-kind artifacts, including the Gemini 8 spacecraft, Neil Armstrong's Gemini and Apollo spacesuits, and a lunar sample - the NASA term for a Moon rock. The museum is also home to two full-size aircraft, including the airplane in which Neil Armstrong learned to fly.[5]

One of Armstrong's two Apollo space suits

The museum is designed for the experiential learner. There are seven interactive exhibits, ten audio/visual elements, and three simulators. Visitors can practice landing the Lunar Module and Space Shuttle or docking the Gemini spacecraft, just as Neil Armstrong did in 1966.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Home of the Wright Brothers". National Aviation Heritage Area. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  2. ^ Neil A. Armstrong: Biography, brochure published by the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum, updated 2001
  3. ^ a b c d Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum: Ohio's Place in Space, published by the Ohio Historical Society, copyright 2000.
  4. ^ "One small step for criminals: Someone burglarized the Armstrong Air and Space Museum". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  5. ^ a b Discover the Moon brochure passed out on admission to the museum, published by the Ohio Historical Society.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°33′50″N 84°10′16″W / 40.56389°N 84.17111°W / 40.56389; -84.17111