Smithsonian Donates Replica Statue of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Spacesuit to FSU’s Christa McAuliffe Center

Smithsonian Donates Replica Statue of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Spacesuit to FSU’s Christa McAuliffe Center

Oct 11, 2019

Framingham State University’s Christa McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning is the new home of a 3D replica statue of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit, thanks to a donation from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

The statue was created using 3D scans that were taken as part of an effort to conserve and digitize Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit leading up to the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. A total of 15 replica statues were created and were on display at baseball parks throughout the country this past summer as part of the museum’s program called “Apollo at the Park.”

The replica donated to Framingham State University had been on display at Fenway Park in Boston.

“We are thrilled to receive this incredibly realistic replica of Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit,” says Dr. Irene Porro, director of the Christa McAuliffe Center for Integrated Science Learning. “This is something that visitors to the McAuliffe Center will be able to enjoy for years to come. We are thankful to the Smithsonian for thinking of us when considering how best to utilize these unique statues.”

Members of the public will have their first opportunity to view the statue during the McAuliffe Center’s Open House event on Friday, Oct. 25, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., which is being held as part of Massachusetts STEM Week (Oct. 21-25, 2019).

Each spacesuit statue is made of a blend of rigid resin for strength and durability for outdoor display, and hand painted. Each has an interactive component where fans can use their phone cameras to scan parts of the suit, including the Apollo 11 patch, NASA logo, American flag and glove patch, to access videos and additional information about the Apollo 11 mission and astronauts.

The National Air and Space Museum worked with Smithsonian Affiliations and its network of Affiliate organizations nation-wide when considering where to donate the replicas. As an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution since 2015, Framingham State University was an appropriate and logical permanent home for the spacesuit statue.

"After the success of 'Apollo at the Park,' we are delighted that the McAuliffe Center is one of 11 Smithsonian Affiliates to receive a statue," said Jennifer Brundage, National Outreach Manager at Smithsonian Affiliations. "The spacesuit statue landing in Framingham is a perfect complement to 18 months of programming in partnership with the Smithsonian to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. The Smithsonian’s relationship with Framingham State University is truly a two-way street, through our shared research and expertise, and their ability to contextualize Smithsonian resources for the benefits of students and citizens alike."

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.