The Oklahoma History Center (OHC) is proud to announce the opening of its newest permanent exhibit, “Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space,” the culmination of several years of coordination and planning with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas. This exhibit focuses on the many Oklahomans who have played a part in the U.S. air and space program, as well as early Oklahoma pioneers of aviation. The new exhibit will open to the public on November 17, 2020, and will be located in the Gaylord Special Exhibit Gallery of the OHC. To celebrate the opening of “Launch to Landing,” as well as the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma History Center, the OHC will offer five days of free admission to the public beginning Tuesday, November 17, through Saturday, November 21, sponsored by the Inasmuch Foundation.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is the Skylab 4 Apollo Command Module (CM-118). This spacecraft carried the final Skylab crew of astronauts—Gerald Carr (commander), Edward Gibson (science pilot) and William Pogue (pilot)—into space to live and work in the Skylab Orbiting Laboratory, or Space Station. The final Skylab mission was the longest mission flown by any Apollo command module. It flew from November 16, 1973, to February 8, 1974, for a total of 84 days in space.
“Launch to Landing” will feature a number of personal items utilized by astronauts. Among those are flight suits worn by Fred Haise, John Herrington and Gordon Cooper, and as well as articles of clothing worn by Shannon Lucid and other crew members of the International Space Station missions. Also available for viewing are the in-flight coverall garment and pants used by Apollo Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa when he flew to the moon and back on Apollo 14 from January 31 to February 9, 1971.
Also included in the exhibit are items that are generally associated with Oklahoma aviators and the U.S. air and space program, such as Oklahoma flags flown in space, a NASA Mission Control console, space shuttle heat shield tiles and lunar samples—also known as “moon rocks.”
“Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space” has been made possible by the generous support of the E. L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation; the M. D. Jirous and Barbara Jirous Foundation; the Inasmuch Foundation; the Records-Johnston Family Foundation Inc.; Bob Ford; the James C. and Teresa K. Day Foundation; the Friends of the Oklahoma History Center; the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Cosmosphere, Hutchinson, Kansas; the Thomas P. Stafford Air and Space Museum, Weatherford, Oklahoma; Bill Moore; and Cameron Eagle, Ink Ranch.
The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City and is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call 405-522-0765 or visit www.okhistory.org/historycenter/visitor for admission costs and group rates. The Oklahoma Historical Society requires face masks in all public areas of its museums, sites and affiliates, including the Oklahoma History Center.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.