To the Moon: Talks and Events to Mark 50 Years of Apollo 11

July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing—and there are plenty of ways to celebrate even while Earth-bound. Mark the anniversary in true NYC fashion with these upcoming talks and events.

One of the best places to celebrate the upcoming Apollo anniversary is at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which will be offering a full slate of lunar-themed events. The museum will offer special family programs to mark the 50th anniversary on July 14, along with an Astronomy Night July 19 featuring NASA scientist Noah Petro. To celebrate in more comedic fashion, head to the museum on July 20, when the Upright Citizens Brigade touring company will perform a special night of history, comedy, and science. Another scientist can be found at the Queens Library—Central Library on July 20: aeronautical engineer Nik Moiseev will talk about the role of the Apollo program in the progress of space suits, as well as other technology that enables space flights.

The city’s other iconic scientific spot, the American Museum of Natural History, will be marking the 50th anniversary on July 20 itself with SpaceFest. The day-long event will feature presentations, performances, and activities for the whole family centered on the moon and outer space. The SpaceFest events will include a special presentation of To the Moon, a 15-minute virtual reality experience created by artist Laurie Anderson. That presentation will also continue at the museum through July 28. (Anderson will give a free talk on July 21.)

To the Moon won’t be the only event putting a lunar spin on the visual arts. A July 12 event at The Met will look at how the Moon has been portrayed in photography, combining conversations about the exhibition Apollo’s Muse: The Moon in the Age of Photography with a unique look at the moon from the museum’s roof. On July 20, McNally Jackson will host “a synthesis of books, art, and excitement” for all ages in celebration of the moon landing’s anniversary. Those who want to celebrate the Apollo anniversary in more hands-on fashion can take part in a special workshop to create moon jars, a traditional Korean vessel that bears a resemblance to the full moon. The two-day workshop will take place July 20-21.

The performing arts world will also be celebrating the momentous anniversary. Australian cabaret performer Kim David Smith will perform an evening of lunar-inspired works at The Met on July 26, while a July 21 event at Town Hall will feature a reading of a short play about Apollo 11 by Tony Award-winning author J.T. Rogers, which was commissioned specifically for this event. The event, which is being presented by the New York Times, will feature such renowned performers as Jeff Daniels, Danai Gurira, and Samuel L. Jackson. The Paley Center for Media, meanwhile, will mark the occasion with special screenings on July 20 and 21, which will include the first hour of the fateful moon walk and documentaries and scripted programs about the space mission and its legacy.

Other upcoming events this summer will celebrate astronomy beyond the Apollo 11 anniversary. The American Museum of Natural History will offer a Grand Tour of the Universe on August 27, which guides viewers from Earth to the universe’s most distant objects. The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation also has a full slate of astronomy events this summer, including stargazing on the Hudson and East River and safe sun gazing.

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