The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force History and Museums Program as a recipient of a 2020 Air Force Heritage Award for its Space Suit exhibit.
The award recognizes outstanding achievements by Air Force History and Museums personnel that foster a better understanding and appreciation of the Air Force, its history and accomplishments.
Located in the museum’s Space Gallery, the multi-part Space Suit exhibit was unveiled in 2019 for the 50thanniversary of the first moon landing, and features seven reproductions of space suits spanning the era of American spaceflight – including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle. Each suit represents the ones worn by U.S. Air Force astronauts on historic missions and allows visitors to see how space gear evolved over time.
Air Force astronauts whose individual suits are featured as reproductions in the exhibit include Gordon Cooper (Mercury-Atlas 9), Michael Collins (Apollo 11), and David Scott (Apollo 15). Other USAF astronauts featured through images and text include Thomas Stafford, Edward White, Buzz Aldrin, Catherine Coleman, Susan Helms, and Mark Lee.
The exhibit’s innovative design features six stand-alone cases, which allow for 360-degree views, along with a suspended space suit simulating a space-walk against the gallery ceiling’s black background. Interpretive text and images accompany each suit as well.
According to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Director Mr. David Tillotson, receiving the 2020 Air Force Heritage Award for the Space Suit exhibit is a significant honor for the museum.
“This award recognizes the great pride we take in telling the Air Force story to a global audience, and an important chapter of that story is the USAF involvement with the space program” said Tillotson. “The Space Suit exhibit not only illustrates what astronauts historically wore, but also explains key aspects of their missions and perhaps even serves as a catalyst to spark the imaginations of our younger visitors by inspiring them to pursue careers with the Air Force, Space Force, or NASA.”