Apollo: When We Went to the Moon,” now open at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, launches you back to the space race leading up to the moon landing in 1969. Take in more than 100 artifacts from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s archives, make footprints on a virtual moon and climb aboard a lunar rover model in this multi-sensory exhibition.

40 seconds away… Your seat is trembling… Ignition sequence starts… there’s no turning back. Six seconds and counting… the entire world is watching as the U.S. makes history. Countdown for Apollo 11, the flight to land the first man on the moon. Commander Neil Armstrong is on board the 363-foot-tall rocket in Cape Kennedy. Good luck and Godspeed! 

The Apollo 11 moon landing was a momentous achievement for the United States. However, the success of the mission was only one of several historic moments happening in the country. The cultural and political context of the Apollo program included the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and the Anti-War movement. The country that celebrated the success of the Apollo 11 mission was also struggling with conflict and change nationally and internationally. 

Apollo 11’s successful mission paved the way for the expansion of space exploration. Apollo missions 12 through 17 allowed for longer and more in-depth scientific exploration of the moon with new technologies, like the lunar rover.

Over 400,000 individuals contributed to the success of the American space program. The best and brightest scientists, mathematicians, artists, engineers, writers, coders, doctors and hundreds of other experts worked for over a decade to send humans to the moon and bring them safely home again.