Potteries museum has lift off with Apollo 11 exhibition

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The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing with an exhibition showcasing space-race memorabilia.

Fifty years after astronaut Neil Armstrong famously described his first step on the moon as, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is hosting its very own out-of-this-world exhibition to commemorate the first lunar landing.

Featuring a vast display of model rockets and space-race memorabilia, the exhibition charts the history of rocketry and the future of space flight.

Model rockets on display at the exhibition

“The exhibition traces the whole history of rockets, from Congreve rockets which the British Army used at the beginning of the 19th century, right up to the latest rockets such as the ones designed by Elon Musk and everything in between,” said Andrew Lound, exhibition organiser.

“From a visual point of view, it’s really quite spectacular.”

The free exhibition, which has been running since March, hopes to inspire the next generation of budding space enthusiasts, as well as offer a trip down memory lane for those lucky enough to witness the historic event.

“For those who are thinking a science exhibition might be a bit over their head, no it isn’t. We’ve carefully worded the exhibition so that it appeals to both young and old,” said Lound.

Memorabilia on display at the exhibition

Although the exhibition is part of a global commemoration, Lound wanted to ensure the culture of Stoke-on-Trent also made an appearance.

“The Apollo programme stimulated local industry here Stoke, so we are talking of course about commemorative pottery plates and bowls,” he said.

“Those are also on display to highlight just how important Apollo 11 was to the general public.”

The highly successful exhibition has received national praise from both visitors and museum curators and will run until November

“We’ve been very pleased with the response, not only just from the public who have loved it – we’ve had thousands of visitors, but also museum professionals from all over the country looking at the exhibition,” said Lound.

“One actually complimented us saying that in his 30 years of working in the business, he considered this to be the best space exhibition he’s ever been to, comparing it to museums in London and Leicester.

“That was a big compliment.”

Cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Lorraine Beardmore, hopes the exhibition will bring families together to explore

“It’s a free exhibition, please come down and bring the children,” said Beardmore.

 “It’s interactive and inspiring, children can dress up as astronauts and there’s a carboard cut out of an astronaut that they can peek their faces through and have a picture.

“We’ve also got the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition going on upstairs, celebrating ten years since its discovery. For those who visit, please feel free to take pictures and use the hashtag ‘MyStokeStory’.”

The exhibition will conclude in November with a presentation on the future of spaceflight.

For more information, please visit: http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag/

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