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You Know, There's Already a Whole Museum Honoring Neil Armstrong

August 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM | by | ()

What you already know by now is that Neil Armstrong, NASA pilot and first man on the moon, died Saturday at age 82 of complications from cardiovascular procedures. What you probably don't know is that the man already has a museum dedicated to him, and it's been around for thirty years! The museum opened in 1972, three years after the famous first moonwalk 1969.

The Armstrong Air and Space Museum sits in the tiny (under 10,000 people) town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong's birthplace. Since Ohio has a reputation as a breeding ground for aviators, astronauts and presidents, the structure branches out beyond Neil to cover all Ohio's contributions to the history and politics of space flight.

Among the items on display are Armstrong's uniforms, an F5D Sky Lancer, the Gemini VIII spacecraft (in which Neil flew and which also made the first space docking), Apollo 11 artifacts (Neil's backup Apollo 11 spacesuit!) and a moon rock. Even the architecture of the museum is notable; it resembles the moon rising and the dome that gives this effect contains a star theater.

Personal note: I actually grew up taking occasional road trips down I-75 to visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, and once even to Dayton's nearby National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. As it turns out, this part of Ohio is known as the "National Aviation Heritage Area" seeing as how it contains some fifteen sites and museums that pertain to the history of air travel. I think it's time for another such road trip.

Visit the museum's Ohio Tourism website to find out more, but do know that it's an easy drive south from Detroit, north from Cincinnati, east from Indianapolis or west from Columbus, those being the four most major airports around it.

Bonus fact: There's even a Neil Armstrong Airport. It's Wapakoneta's tiny field for General Aviation, but hey—it exists!

[Photo: OZinOH]

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