The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a new temporary exhibit highlighting the influential events and achievements of the U.S. space program beginning in the 1950s.
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with a new temporary exhibit highlighting the influential events and achievements of the U.S. space program beginning in the 1950s.The exhibit can be seen free of charge in the upper mezzanine of the library building. The exhibit provides a glimpse of Dwight D. Eisen-hower’s contributions to space exploration, which culminated in the successful moon landing on July 20, 1969. The United States successfully launched its first Earth satellite, Explorer I, on Jan. 31, 1958. President Eisenhower signed legislation on July 29, 1958, establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “Although no Americans flew into space during Ike’s presidency, the first Mercury capsule did on Dec. 19, 1960,” said Timothy Rives, deputy director. “So the first steps toward the lunar landing were in effect taken on Ike’s watch.” The exhibit includes correspondence from Eisenhower’s post-presidential years. Of particular interest is a 1965 letter written by Gemini astronaut Frank Borman, who took issue with Eisenhower’s public comment referring to the manned space program as a series of stunts.“Those of us who have dedicated our careers to this program do not consider it to be a stunt,” Borman wrote.Eisenhower wrote in reply, “What I have criticized about the current space program is the concept under which it was drastically revised and expanded just after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961. ... The President of the United States announced that this nation challenged the Russians to a race to the moon, implying that the prestige of the U.S.A. would be riding on this issue. This, I thought, unwise.” There are additional artifacts on display in the museum relating to the space program. These include a moon rock from the Apollo 15 mission and Astronaut Ed White’s Gemini 4 training/back-up helmet for the 1965 mission. A framed small American flag and patch insignia carried on the Apollo 8 flight signed by the crew, Frank Borman, James Lovell and Bill Anders, can also be seen in the museum.Online documents regarding Eisenhower and NASA can be found in the “Research” section of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum web site (www.eisenhower.archives.gov). Some topics include Sputnik and the Space Race and the Early History and Development of NASA.The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, a nonpartisan federal institution, is part of the presidential libraries network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. To learn more, call (785) 263-6700 or toll-free (877) RING-IKE or online at www.eisenhower.archives.gov. An admission fee is charged for the museum only.CalendarOther events through mid-October at the museum and library include:Aug. 22Ike’s Abilene — 19th Century Fun and Games with Victorian games for children, 11 a.m., grounds near Boyhood Home, and 19th Century baseball game re-enactment, 1 p.m., East Grounds.Aug. 28An Evening with John F. Burns, 7 p.m., VC Auditorium, London Bureau chief and former Baghdad bureau chief for the New York Times.Sept. 17Constitution Day video, VC Auditorium.Sept. 18Constitution Day (area fifth graders)Sept. 19Ike’s Abilene — Women of the 1890s. Turn-of-the-century cooking contest — entries submitted from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Library Courtyard; turn-of-the-century quilting contest — entries submitted from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in library lobby; portrayal of Rosa Fix, 1890s Kansas farm woman by Professor Joyce Thierer, 3 p.m., Visitors Center Auditorium; and announcement of contest winners and presentation of awards, 4:30 p.m., library auditorium.Sept. 20Ike’s Abilene — Cattle Tales, portrayal of Georgiana Jackson, 1890s cattle drover and rancher by Professor Joyce Thierer, 2 p.m., Visitors Center Auditorium.Sept. 26Ike’s Abilene — Late Victorian Fashion and Social Life, a Victorian fashion show accompanied by Victorian tea and Victorian etiquette presentation, 2 to 4: p.m., Library Courtyard (tickets required).Oct. 6ESU “Harry and Ike” Elderhostel.Oct. 7Chapman Eisenhower Day.Oct. 8Abilene Eisenhower Day.Oct. 10Ike’s Abilene — Abilene and the Shaping of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 6:30 p.m., Visitors Center Auditorium; Abilene High School student: “Dwight D. Eisenhower and His Family”; keynote speaker: Eisenhower biographer Carlo D’Este, on the influence of Abilene and the Eisenhower family on “Ike” Eisenhower’s career of public service.Oct. 16VFW Vigil — Chapel; and Eisenhower Legacy Dinner, Library Courtyard (tickets required).Hours and admissionThe museum and library are open from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. daily. (Call for extended summer hours.) It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Parking is free. Spaces are available for tour buses and recreational vehicles. Standard museum admission is: adults (16 through 61 years), $8; AAA member, $7; senior citizens, $6; youth 8 to 15 years, $1; military spouses and retired military, $6; children, 7 years and younger, and active military, free.