Museum of Rexburg: Home of the Teton Flood Exhibit to host Apollo 11 display

Museum of Rexburg: Home of the Teton Flood exhibit officials Lauren Ashford and Siobhan Papworth stand next to the iconic photo of Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during his famed Apollo 11 moon walk in 1969.

REXBURG — An Apollo 11 display has landed at the Legacy Flight Museum.

The display is part of the Legacy Flight Museum and the Museum of Rexburg: Home of the Teton Flood Exhibit’s 50th year anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 landing.

At the Legacy Flight Museum, officials are working to create a display showcasing the original consul – yes the original consul – used at the Johnson Space Center July 1969 when NASA launched the Apollo 11. The display continues across town at the Museum of Rexburg: Home of the Teton Flood Exhibit where officials have created an exhibit featuring a cutout of Buzz Aldrin in his original flight suit.

Officials plan to open the Apollo 11 display at the Legacy Flight Museum starting on Monday. The display will remain at the flight museum through September. Those purchasing a ticket to visit the flight museum may use that same ticket to also visit the Apollo 11 display at the Museum of Rexburg: Home of the Teton Flood Exhibit.

On July 16, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins blasted off from Kennedy Space Center at Florida’s Cape Canaveral via a 363-foot tall Saturn V Rocket. The historical event took the world into the space age, reports NASA on its webpage.

Four days later, and while Collins remained inside the Columbia circling the moon, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon via the lunar module nicknamed “The Eagle.”

Shortly after, Armstrong radioed NASA officials.

“‘Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.’ Mission control erupts in celebration as the tension breaks, and a controller tells the crew ‘You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue, we’re breathing again,” said the webpage.

At 11 p.m., Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. He told an enthralled earthly audience, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” It’s estimated that a half a billion people watched the event, NASA reported.

Aldrin also walked on the moon and reported how the moon’s surface was of “magnificent desolation.” The two astronauts explored the moon’s surface for nearly three hours where they collected samples and took pictures. Before leaving, the men left an American flag and a plaque reading “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

The two astronauts returned to the Columbia to a very relieved Collins. Four days later, the men returned to earth by splashing down in the ocean near Hawaii.

It was the beginning of the space program that then-President John F. Kennedy had hoped for.

Much has changed since 1969, said Museum of Rexburg: Home of the Teton Flood Exhibit official Alisha Tietjen.

“We have a lot of the technology that’s come out since the moon landing,” she said.

Tietjen said officials learned about the Apollo II display via the Emerging Museum Professionals Facebook page.

“We saw where they were advertising for it. We jumped on it. This is one of the first of six museums to have this display. This is the only one in Idaho,” she said.

A NASA grant allowed for the console exhibit piece.

“They’re offering this to small museums to people who might not have the opportunity to see anything like this. We really wanted it to come to Idaho,” Tietjen said.

After learning that the Apollo 11 display would land in Rexburg, Tietjen worked with Legacy Flight Museum officials to have the console display featured there.

“I found out it wouldn’t fit in our museum because of the space issues,” she said and chuckled as she quickly realized she’d made an unintended pun.

It’s astonishing what the Apollo 11 astronauts accomplished and how brave they were to sail into the Final Frontier, Tietjen said.

“As we have started researching, it’s truly amazing the things that they accomplished. They strapped themselves into a module on top of a rocket thrust up into space,” she said. “When they came back down, they fell into the ocean. It’s amazing that they were able to do that. It blows my mind — the science behind it and the bravery and the courage (it took) to step up and to do that knowing that something could go wrong. There was a greater chance of something going wrong than going right, and they still did it.”

At the Museum of Rexburg: Home of Teton Flood Exhibit visitors may view another Apollo 11 display.

“We have that iconic photo of Buzz Aldrin in his space suit. We have an iPad with information, video clips and interactive things you can do about the moon landing,” she said.

Also featured are original July 1969 Salt Lake City newspapers and a Life Magazine story of the 1969 event.

To show how much technology has changed, museum officials have created a display showing the different types of technology created since 1969. It features everything from eight track tapes to VCRs to flip cell phones to GameCubes.

It’s hoped that the display will provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane for those who were living at the time of the Apollo 11 launch while also showing their children and grandchildren how much things have changed in the past 50 years, said museum officials Siobhan Papworth and Lauren Ashford.

The two women report the reaction of Baby Boomers that visit the museum when they see the electric typewriter, calculators, vinyl records, Eight Track tapes and Super-8 Cameras. Baby Boomers’ children wax nostalgic when they see some of the first computer floppy discs. Papworth and Ashford noted younger museum visitors wondering what a Video Cassette Recorder was and what those VHS tapes are that the VCR played.

The display items come compliments of Upper Valley residents who lent the collectables, the women said.

“These things are so beautiful. All of these things have so much personality and character,” Papworth said. “A lot of people absolutely love the typewriter. The rotary phone takes a little bit longer to dial than your normal cell phone.”

The women noted the display’s music section with the records of 70’s musicians Shaun Cassidy and Bon Jovi. A Doris Day record is also a part of the collection.

“We have transistor radios over here, and then we also have floppy discs – that’s what they’re called. Floppy discs in all sizes as they evolved. Now we use thumb drives,” Ashford said.

She pointed out some computer chips equaling 128 megabytes of memory. Today, it would take 144 of those to equal the memory available in a smart phone.

“It’s amazing to see how technology has evolved over time,” Ashford said.

Papworth said she’s heard delighted Baby Boomers as they’ve looked at the displays.

“We hear people giggling in the back (saying) ‘It’s really cool.’ (They are) things they loved from their teen years and their early young adulthoods — things make them feel happy,” she said.

Ashford said those Baby Boomers’ children in their 20s or 30s are stunned to see some of their old toys featured in the exhibit as well.

“(They’ll say) ‘I can’t believe a GameCube is on display in the museum,” she said.

Ashford reported that some of the more popular items on display include an Atari Video System, a Game Boy Advance SP, and a Play Station One Controller. She also pointed out the various types of cameras that include everything from Super-8 movie cameras to Polaroid Instamatics to disposable cameras.

The goal of the display is to produce many wonderful nostalgic memories for visitors, Papworth said.

“We hope no one comes in and says ‘I’m so old,’ (but will instead say) ‘Oh, my gosh look at what my childhood used to be like’,” she said.

The exhibit shows how things have changed since the lunar landing, Ashford said.

“We wanted to show how technology evolved since the lunar landing. Everything you see here is on your phones — listening to radios, music, communicating with people and taking pictures. It’s amazing how technology has changed,” she said.

In the meantime, Tietjen hopes that the two displays will inspire residents to take great risks even when it seems its against impossible odds – similar to what the Apollo II astronauts did.

“That’s what I want my kids to have — that sense of awe, to look up to those people for what they did, and the example of that — to follow in their footsteps and to not let fear stop them from doing amazing things,” she said.

For more information on the displays, call the museum at 208-359-3063.