WAPAKONETA — Wednesday, July 20, marks the 50th anniversary of the grand opening for the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta. To commemorate the special occasion, the museum will be hosting a full day of festive events and activities for guests and community members to enjoy.
To begin the day at 10:30 a.m., the museum will virtually host Tom Crouch, curator emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, who will give a presentation on the history of the Armstrong Museum exhibits and his participation in acquiring the artifacts on display.
Beginning at 1:30 p.m., the celebration will head to the museum’s southwest lawn for the ribbon-cutting of the new Learjet 28 outdoor exhibit area. Guests will then move to the museum front entrance for the re-dedication ceremony which will take place at 2 p.m., the exact time the museum opened its doors 50 years prior. Special guests will speak briefly at both events. Directly following, the ceremony will conclude with birthday cupcakes and a special Aeronca Champion fly-over.
At 3:30 p.m., a panel of specialists who worked on the museum’s construction will go into an in-depth discussion of designing, engineering, and constructing the famous lunar base architecture. Panel participants include Dan Freytag from the Sidney based architectural firm Freytag & Associates, and Wapakoneta local John Zwez, who was one of the museum’s first employees and later site manager.
Other events happening throughout the day include a laser-light show in the museum’s Astro-theater, the release of the new annual commemorative cancellation cover, a meet and greet session with former NASA astronaut Greg H. Johnson, and a live on-site broadcast from WGTE, who will also be interviewing special guests over the course of the show.
To finish the night, at 7 p.m. the museum will host its 50th anniversary gala. The guest of honor for the event is Axiom-1 astronaut Larry Connor, Ohio’s newest astronaut. During the evening, Connor will discuss his historic space mission and being a part of the first all-private crew to the International Space Station. Connor will also hand over items flown into space on the museum’s behalf.
For more information on the museum’s 50th anniversary or ticket availability for the gala, visit the museum website at www.armstrongmuseum.org or call the museum at 419-738-8811.