Pittsburgh-based space museum and learning center counts down to October opening | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh space museum and learning center counts down to October opening

click to enlarge People admire giant images of space in a rendering for the Moonshot Museum in Pittsburgh
Photo: Courtesy of Moonshot Museum
Rendering of the Moonshot Museum lobby
Texas has NASA. Washington, D.C. has the National Air and Space Museum. Florida has the Kennedy Space Center. And soon, Pittsburgh will have its own tribute to space travel with the opening of the Moonshot Museum.

It was announced the Moonshot Museum will open to the public on Oct. 15. A press release describes the project, developed through a partnership with the Pittsburgh space robotics company, Astrobotic, as Pennsylvania’s first space museum and the "first museum in the world to focus on career readiness for the contemporary space industry.”

Ahead of opening day, Moonshot Museum will host an exclusive preview on Oct. 13 to the community members in the North Side, where the facility is located. From there, the museum Moonshot Museum will be open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays, with admission costing $10 for adults and $5 for children 3-17.

Construction began on the 3,000-square-foot exhibition and programming space in June, and, once open, promises to “foster space career and community readiness and propel young people of all backgrounds to pursue space-related careers across the spectrum of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM), including space careers in medicine, business, law, policy, and the humanities.”

“The final countdown to launching Moonshot Museum is officially underway,” says Moonshot Museum executive director Sam Moore. “After years of designing, thinking, building, prototyping, and engaging with students and members of the Pittsburgh community, we cannot wait to welcome visitors to explore a museum unlike any other. We’re thrilled to light a unique spark of space-centered curiosity in our community and spotlight the incredible space industry here in Western Pennsylvania.”

Designated as an independent nonprofit organization, the museum will set out to fulfill its stated mission of inspiring a “diverse community to find their place in the future of space exploration.” Visitors will be able to experience simulated lunar missions and observe actual lunar landers being “built and readied to fly to the Moon,” offering a look at the “real-time work of space through immersive simulated mission experiences, real space industry problem-solving, and direct access to Pittsburgh space professionals.”

“The Moonshot Museum is a decade-long dream turned reality. It was designed for the community to literally step into the world of the space industry,” says Astrobotic CEO John Thornton, who serves as the founding board member of the Moonshot Museum. “We want young people to see themselves in our work, meet the real people building spacecraft, and discover that there’s a place for them in space.”

The first museum of its kind in the commonwealth has accrued a large amount of support. In January, the museum announced that it had raised $1.7 million from various contributors, including First National Bank, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, the Allegheny Foundation, and the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, among others.

At the time, Moore says the funding would cover costs “across the spectrum of exhibition development, construction, and innovative programming.”

Moonshot also received a $300,000 grant in July from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

“A bedrock component of the Foundation’s economic-development strategy always has been to make bets on visionaries who see opportunities to harness technology to make Pittsburgh a national destination in new and promising economic sectors, and who are committed to making those opportunities available to the people of our communities,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “The leaders of the Moonshot Museum are such visionaries, and we can’t wait for the community at large to see what they’ve accomplished.”

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