The Franklin Institute Commemorates Apollo 50th Anniversary Launches “Summer of the Moon”

Apollo-Era Artifacts ▪ Rooftop Moon Gazing ▪ “Apollo 11” Exclusive to IMAX®
July 20 Anniversary Celebration ▪ 60s Themed Dance PARTY
Live Walking Tours of the Apollo 11 Landing Site

The Franklin Institute marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing July 20, 1969, with Summer of the Moon—a museum-wide summer celebration featuring a suite of lunar events designed to reflect on the historic achievement and look ahead to the future of space exploration.

PHILADELPHIA July 2, 2019—The Franklin Institute commemorates the 50thAnniversary of Apollo 11 with the launch of Summer of the Moon, a suite of lunar events designed to honor the achievement and capture the spirit of the history-making mission. Programming highlights include rooftop lunar observing and a sixties-themed dance party at Night Skies in the Observatory, exclusive film and IMAX® screenings, engaging speakers, lunar lander tours, rocket demos, special live science shows, streaming footage of the 1969 landing, Apollo-era and space-related artifacts, and a museum-wide anniversary celebration on July 20.

Featured Programming
Moon Landing: 50th Anniversary Day Celebration
Saturday, July 20 | 10am-3pm

A daylong celebration commemorating the momentous anniversary. Outdoor activities include lunar lander tours, small-to large-scale rocket demonstrations—Alka rockets, straw rockets, and colorful trash can rocket explosions. Indoor screenings of The Apollo Chronicles, IMAX showings of Apollo 11: The First Steps Edition—an exclusive edition for science centers and museums, 1969 footage of the landing, moon-related artifacts on display, plus the popular live show World’s Cheapest Spacesuit throughout the day. Free with general museum admission.

Night Skies in the Observatory  
Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts leads attendees through the night skies at the popular rooftop stargazing event, expanded to include two events during the anniversary week.

Tuesday, July 16 | 7pm-10pm

  • Live walking tours of the Apollo 11 landing site using integrated data visualization. Walk in the footsteps of our men on the moon in this special Fels Planetarium presentation guided by Pitts.
  • Screenings of The Apollo Chronicles—a documentary miniseries that covers the people, events, and obstacles of the Apollo mission, and features untold stories and hidden perspectives from Apollo 11 participants, family members, historians, and other experts, including Pitts.
  • Planetarium shows, astronomy activities, telescopic observing from the rooftop observatory (weather permitting), cash bar.
  • Special Guest Speaker: Frank O’ Brien, NASA Solar System Ambassador

Thursday, July 18 | 7pm-11pm
* Extended Night Skies Edition: 1960s Dance Party
Night Skies extends for one hour on one-night-only to celebrate the swinging sixties with friends from The Barbary in an all-ages dance party in the Fels Planetarium. Moon-themed signature cocktail, 60s attire encouraged.

  • Live “walking” tours of the Apollo 11 landing site, screenings of The Apollo Chronicles, planetarium shows, astronomy activities, and telescopic observing.
  • Special Guest Speaker: Rebecca Kamen, creator of PLOT: a moving graphic video celebrating the Apollo 11 mission.

Tickets: $10 individuals; $5 members. Bar drinks available for purchase.

Community Night: Summer of the Moon Edition
Monday, July 15 | 5pm-8pm 

Moon gazing and moon-related interactive demonstrations fill this special lunar-edition of the Institute’s free monthly evening event.  Free.

Daily Programming
Apollo 11: First Steps Edition in IMAX® | Now Playing!
Exclusive to IMAX theaters at science centers & museums; 47 minutes
A cinematic event 50 years in the making, created from newly discovered 70mm footage of the 1969 lunar mission to tell the story of the historic event in an entirely new way.

Apollo-era Artifacts 
Celestial globes, historical moon drawings, replica Galileo telescopes, a Moon Map from 1879, photos, and various space-themed toys are some of the 30+ objects from the Institute’s collections and on loan from private collectors curated for display during Summer of the Moon.

Moon-related Activities
Discover the science of slingshotting and understand how gravity is used to boost a rocket’s speed. Launch stomp rockets and Alka rockets, and learn about spectroscopy—a tool scientists use to learn more about the moon, stars, and exoplanets.

World’s Cheapest Spacesuit Live Show
The popular live science show explores how a full spacesuit helps astronauts live and work outside of the International Space Station by using a spacesuit built on a budget.

Summer of the Moon programming is presented by PNC Bank.

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education.

For more information, visit and follow The Franklin Institute on Twitter @TheFranklin and Instagram @FranklinInstitute, hashtag #franklininstitute.

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