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Armstrong Air & Space Museum marks 50th anniversary

The Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.
The Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

The Armstrong Air & Space Museum was officially dedicated at 2 p.m. on July 20, 1972. Fifty years later — to the minute — the museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, is marking its 50th anniversary.

The museum came about shortly after astronaut — and Wapakoneta native son — Neil Armstrong made his memorable walk on the moon. During a parade upon his return, Gov. James A. Rhodes suggested honoring Armstrong and the U.S. space program with a museum.

"This anniversary is really just to help celebrate where we have been, and to thank everyone that has contributed the last 50 years," says Logan Rex, the museum's communications director. "It really shows that these moments and space history do mean a lot to people."


The Armstrong Museum has a day of events planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary. They include opening a new exhibit; re-dedicating the museum; a panel of specialists discussing the museum's design and construction; a laser-light show; and a meet and greet with former NASA astronaut Greg H. Johnson. The evening will cap off with a gala featuring Larry Connor, the Dayton entrepreneur-turned-astronaut who piloted the private Axiom Ax-1.

The museum is looking ahead to the future, too.

"We thought this was a great opportunity to start launching our next 'giant leap,' as we like to call it, as to what the museum will look like in 50 years," Rex explains. "We will be announcing our new 10-year plan for the museum; we'll be going into our expansion projects. Space is one of those areas of history that (is) continuing to grow constantly, so as a museum dedicated to aviation and space history, we have to keep up with the times."

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Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Most recently, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She served on the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors from 2007 - 2009.