Hutchinson The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is putting together its first traveling exhibit, part of an effort to expand its educational mission and capitalize on renewed interest in the space program.
The exhibit, called "We Choose to Go to the Moon," will chronicle the race to the moon between the United States and Soviet Union, said Jim Remar, vice president of museum operations.
The traveling exhibit will include nearly 100 items, including full-scale replicas of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft, personal equipment from Soviet and American missions and a 29-foot-tall replica of a lunar module.
Although the design of the exhibit is final, it won't be built until another museum agrees to be host to it, Remar said, adding that the exhibit will require at least 8,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Remar said the exhibit was designed to take the visitor through the launching of the Soviet satellite Sputnik to the American lunar landings.
"The race to the moon captured the imagination and enthusiasm of two nations," Remar said. "They threw in their entire country's resources to capture an advantage to get to the moon first."
The exhibit is being marketed to museums in mid-sized and major cities, said Betty Simecka, vice president of marketing for Sunflower Exhibitions, the company promoting the exhibit.
"With the Kansas Cosmosphere having so many exhibits that have never been seen outside the museum before, I think it's going to be a great draw for the public," Simecka said.
Remar said once the exhibit was built, it probably would tour for three to four years before returning to the Cosmosphere.