In a bold move, reminiscent and perhaps partly influenced by the Commemorative Air Force’s own hugely successful online fundraising efforts with ‘That’s All Brother’, the National Air & Space Museum has also dipped their toes into the crowd-sourcing arena with a Kickstarter Campaign of their own. Dubbed ‘Reboot the Suit’, the campaign is aimed at funding the painstaking project currently underway to preserve the space suit astronaut Neil Armstrong used when he walked on the moon during the Apollo XI mission in July, 1969. Launched conspicuously on July 20th, the 46th anniversary of Armstrong and Aldrin’s moon landing, the project reached its initial goal of US$500k in just over a week, but they are now stretching the finish-line to see if they can raise a further US$200k to preserve the suit which astronaut Alan Shepard wore during his Mercury mission, America’s first manned spaceflight.
The suits were never meant to last indefinitely, and despite being housed in a specially constructed climate-controlled room, they are actually in quite fragile condition. The preservation efforts will help make sure these important artifacts of globally historic proportions are kept intact for many generations to come. But considering that the NASM receives money from the US government, you might ask why they need money from us to carry out this important task? NASM was careful to address this as follows…
Isn’t the Smithsonian federally funded? Good question! Federal appropriations provide the foundation of the Smithsonian’s operating budget and support core functions, such as building operations and maintenance, research, and safeguarding the collections. Projects like Reboot the Suit aren’t covered by our federal appropriations, which means we can only undertake them if we can fund them some other way. In other words, we won’t be able to do this project without the participation of Kickstarter backers.
Kickstarter gives a wide audience the chance to be a part of this project. We’re inviting you to go behind the scenes and be a part of the process – from fundraising through conservation to display. All backers will receive regular updates on the process and can follow along each step of the way.
Neil Armstrong’s Apollo XI suit will go on temporary display at NASM in 2019 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, however it will become part of a major exhibition entitled Destination Moon in 2020, which should provide a fantastic overview of the lunar missions; one certainly not to be missed.
There are still nearly three weeks left in the Reboot the Suit campaign, and we urge you to contribute. Click HERE to find the Kickstarter campaign.