Washington Monument display to celebrate Apollo 11 anniversary

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 with a once-in-a-lifetime celebration at the Washington Monument. 

For three nights, July 16-18, a full-sized, 363-foot Saturn V rocket will be projected onto the east face of the Washington Monument from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

On July 19 and July 20, 17-minute special, “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon,” will combine full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the monument and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the story of the first moon landing.

“Our identity as Americans is defined in part by the historic act of landing humans on the moon and returning them safely to the Earth,” said Ellen Stofan, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the museum. “The Washington Monument is a symbol of our collective national achievements and what we can and will achieve in the future. It took 400,000 people from across the 50 states to make Apollo a reality. This program celebrates them, and we hope it inspires generations too young to have experienced Apollo firsthand to define their own moonshot.”

The public will be able to experience “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” July 19 and 20 from viewing areas on the National Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle between ninth and 12th streets.

The viewing area will be outfitted with full sound, projection screens and a 40-foot-wide recreation of the famous Kennedy Space Center countdown clock. The free show will run three times on both nights—9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. More information about the viewing area and show times can be found at https://airandspace.si.edu/go-for-the-moon, or text Apollo50GO to 888777 for live updates the day of the show.

The National Air and Space Museum commissioned the creation of “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” by 59 Productions, a multi-award-winning company of artists, architects, designers and technologists offering world-leading expertise in design for stage and live events, architectural projection-mapping to exhibition design, VR experiences and technical consultancy, according to a news release.

Support for “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” and all of the museum’s Apollo 50th-anniversary programming is provided by Boeing with additional support from Raytheon. No federal funding is being used for this program.

For more, visit airandspace.si.edu/apollo50.

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