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TCU Helping with 50th Anniversary Apollo Exhibit

Lindy Crawford and a team of students are evaluating an exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Apollo Redux is a traveling exhibit showcasing the past, present and future of Apollo mission control. The exhibit, along with a set of classroom-based lessons, was federally funded through a large NASA grant.

Crawford is a professor and Ann M. Jones Endowed Chair in Special Education and she’s serving as the external project evaluator for the project, led by the Cosmosphere International Science Education Center and Space Museum. She and her research apprentice Cassandra Cartmill helped develop the exhibit as well as 10 classroom lessons. A team of master’s and doctoral students in the areas of science education, higher education, counseling and special education and are now evaluating how the public interacts with the materials.

“An 8-year-old interacts with the exhibit much differently than an 80-year-old, but both groups find it fascinating” Crawford said. “The adults tend to read the text and have prolonged attention for the interactive components, while the kids want to push buttons and get their picture taken with the astronaut displayed on one of exhibit’s panels.”

She and her team will collect observation and interview data for six weeks and share their feedback with the Cosmosphere team. Their findings will be used to guide the production of 11 additional exhibits, one of which will be included in the national 50th anniversary celebration in Washington D.C. in July. The space science lessons are also being evaluated in local classrooms and in Kansas, and will be available for use by teachers nationwide.

Crawford and her team helped ensure that the pilot exhibit in Fort Worth was accessible and engaging for all learners. It includes an original desk from a backup Mission Control room in Houston, part of a collection that just returned from the set of the movie First Man. The exhibit also includes videos and other interactive components and features a diverse group of NASA employees. It is wheelchair accessible and includes audio and Spanish text.

The Apollo exhibit will be on display for free viewing at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s Noble Planetarium Gallery through September.