Friday, July 19, 2019

2 Fun Ways to Remember the Apollo 11 Moon Landing (and 2 Lessons for Interpreting Historical Events)

In all the celebrations and remembrances of the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, two well-done (and fun!) pieces of digital interpretation stood out for me.

The first (pictured at the top of this post) is a projection on the Washington Monument of the full-scale Saturn V rocket that brought the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon.

The second is a brief "Google Doodle" animated film (click here to view it) with Michael Collins, the astronaut who flew the Command Module during the Apollo 11 mission.

The Washington Monument projection is successful because it provides a big, cool "wow" followed by an "aha" -- "so that's how big the rocket was!"  Also, this particular piece of digital interpretation could not really have achieved the same effect anyplace else in any other way.

Astronaut Collins remembrances in the Google Doodle film, on the other hand, bring the historic event down to the human scale in simple, memorable ways -- from recalling the pleasure of drinking hot coffee in space, to recounting the very human feeling of "we" that emerged during the world tour that the Apollo 11 astronauts embarked on after their successful mission.

So let's remember both the "giant leaps" (wow!) and "small steps" (aha!) when we help interpret historical events for the public.

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Paul Orselli writes the posts on ExhibiTricks. Paul is an instigator, in the best sense of that word. He likes to mix up interesting people, ideas, and materials to make both individual museum exhibits and entire museums with his company POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.)

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