As he became the first person to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong announced, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” This exhibition celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of that remarkable achievement as the last step in a long series that stretches back through the centuries to the beginnings of the modern scientific understanding of our place in the universe.

On display are landmarks in the history of science from Houghton Library’s collections—such as first editions of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton—together with rarely exhibited highlights from a private spaceflight collection, including artifacts used during the Apollo 11 mission and on the moon itself by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Together, these objects illuminate the path of research and discovery that made Apollo 11 possible.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. Closes August 3.

Join us for the opening celebration on Tuesday, April 30.


  • Applied Physics
  • History and Science
  • American Studies
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics