A constant stream of people filed through Cincinnati’s Museum Center Sunday to honor the late Neil Armstrong and view a piece of rock he brought back from the moon. Kentucky Public Radio’s Cheri Lawson reports the Museum Centers’ Museum of Natural History and Science offered free admission yesterday and extended it through Labor Day in honor of Armstrong .
On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong became an American hero after being the first human to walk on the moon. Shortly after his historic space mission, the Wapakoneta native made Cincinnati his home and for a time taught at the University of Cincinnati. In 2006, he selected the Cincinnati Museum Center's Museum of Natural History & Science to receive a moon rock from his Apollo 11 mission through NASA's ambassadors for science program. Dave Duszynski is an astronomer and Vice President of featured experiences at the museum.
"About 8 years ago NASA decided that they were going to allow each of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts to donate a moon rock to an institution of their choice, so we were extremely honored when Neil Armstrong decided that he wanted to donate his moon rock to Cincinnati Museum Center and we had a very nice event here that day and Neil Armstrong made a public lecture and then we put the moon rock on display. And the rock happens to be one he collected on that very first mission to the moon in 1969.It’s a small modest moon rock but when you think about it what a valuable piece to have here at the museum," said Duszynski.
Museum visitors such as 72 year old Kent Commons came to the exhibit with his family. Commons says he remembers vividly the day Armstrong walked on the moon.
"When my 2 twin daughters were 14 days old we set them up in their little baby chairs feeding them at their 1 o’clock feeding in front of the television set so that they could see Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, so for me this is really not only a trip back watching that remarkable , remarkable feat.…and I still remember clearly Walter Cronkite when he announced that he had landed said, a man has just stepped foot on the moon and he stopped and he paused and he said , a man has just stepped foot on the moon. He understood that people of my generation and earlier assumed that nobody would ever get a chance to walk on the moon," said Commons.
Several visitors to the museum like Eric Knechtges, professor at Northern Kentucky University took time to notice details of the exhibit. He described Armstrong's death as the passing of an era.
"You know growing up, we learn about all these things in school and he’s such an iconic figure to the space program. I’m hoping that his legacy continues on in ages going forward , that we still continue having these new icons of space exploration available to generations to come," said Knechtges.