Other sections of the exhibit include period coverage of the Wright brothers’ experiments with flight, a key discovery on the path to the Saturn V rocket and a successful lunar mission sixty-six years later. “The materials really demonstrate how much it took to put people on the moon, and how much time and scientific labor was required to make that possible,” Overholt said.
The flight plans and celestial navigation cards on exhibit illustrate the materiality of spaceflight and navigation, and one star chart even contains traces of moon dust. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon and consulted the chart, a small square of Velcro passively gathered lunar dust; Aldrin later inscribed the chart’s underside in blue ink.
Overholt said he and the library staff followed the collector’s lead in choosing what loaned objects to display. “He’s extremely knowledgeable about the history of spaceflight, and of Apollo in particular,” he said, adding, “What I like about [the exhibition] is how many things were not just crucial to the mission, but were used in the mission—things that were in the capsule with them, things that they carried on the surface of the moon. I think people will be excited to see artifacts like that up close and in person.”
Small Steps, Giant Leaps will be on view until August 3. Just ten days later is the fiftieth anniversary of the day the Apollo 11 crew received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a state dinner in Los Angeles. A menu from the dinner completes the exhibit.