Heinz History Center to commemorate 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 | TribLIVE.com
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Paul Guggenheimer

The Senator John Heinz History Center will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing by opening a new exhibit and screening a Smithsonian Channel documentary film.

The July 20 events complement the center’s Google Arts & Culture online exhibition, “Pittsburgh Goes to the Moon.”

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. Lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin joined him on the moonwalk shortly after. Pilot Michael Collins, the third member of the crew, remained in the command module.

Western Pennsylvania innovators and companies played a crucial role in landing a man on the moon. Their work was featured in “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission,” a traveling exhibition presented at the Heinz History Center earlier this year.

Selections from the exhibition will be part of the new Destination Moon gallery, opening July 20 within the history center’s “Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation” exhibition. The gallery features stories, artifacts, and interactive activities that tell the story of the region’s contributions to the Apollo program.

They include a prototype camera developed by Westinghouse, which was awarded a $2.29 million contract in 1964 to create a camera that could operate on the surface of the moon. The final product captured Armstrong’s first step on the lunar surface, witnessed by millions of television viewers around the world.

Also on July 20, the History Center will screen at 2 p.m. the new Smithsonian Channel documentary film “The Day We Walked on the Moon,” a minute-by-minute description of the day of the moon landing.

The Heinz History Center’s online exhibition, “Pittsburgh Goes to the Moon,” is part of the Google Arts & Culture presentation called “A Giant Leap for Mankind.” It features exhibits from NASA, the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.

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