CHF Opens New Exhibition Suited for Space on Loan from the Smithsonian
Alan Shepard wore this A7-L extravehicular suit on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. Photo by Mark Avino/Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
May 19, 2014 - Philadelphia, PA
Beginning today the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) will display Suited for Space, a traveling exhibition developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and supported by DuPont. The exhibition features large-scale photographs of suits worn by astronauts from Project Mercury through the Skylab program, as well as suits used in testing and training.
“The history of space exploration is, in part, a history of innovation in matter and materials,” said Carsten Reinhardt, CHF president and CEO. “This exhibition shows the critical role of materials science in the American space program. These suits kept the astronauts safe in the extreme conditions of space travel.”
The photographs featured in Suited for Space were taken by Smithsonian photographer Mark Avino. In addition, Avino, in collaboration with Ronald Cunningham, produced new X-ray images that provide a unique view of the interiors of the spacesuits. While the fragility of these suits prevents them from traveling, the exhibition will feature a replica Apollo spacesuit on loan from NASA and 10 objects from the National Air and Space Museum’s collection, including a glove, a boot, and helmets. Avino’s photographs provide a visual timeline of the spacesuits’ development over the years.
Suited for Space includes images of suits that made history—like the one Buzz Aldrin wore on the Moon—and those that never left the ground, such as the Mark V spacesuit designed for Project Apollo. (The Mark V included an oversized shoulder joint that provided an expanded level of mobility. However, with three astronauts sitting side by side in a capsule the size of the front seat of a small car, the suit was not feasible for the Apollo mission.) A visitor to the exhibition can see an exciting visual timeline of the spacesuits’ evolution over the years. In addition, the exhibition has its own Facebook page for space trivia, curatorial insight, and general fun. Visit facebook.com/suitedforspace.
Suited for Space is on display at CHF as part of an 11-city national tour. The exhibition can be viewed at CHF through November 14. CHF is open Monday through Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with extended hours until 8:00 p.m. the first Friday of each month. Admission is free.
Suited for Space was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The national exhibition tour is supported by DuPont.
About the Chemical Heritage Foundation
CHF fosters dialogue on science and technology in society. Our staff and fellows study the past in order to understand the present and inform the future. We focus on matter and materials and their effects on our modern world in territory ranging from the physical sciences and industries, through the chemical sciences and engineering, to the life sciences and technologies. We collect, preserve, and exhibit historical artifacts; engage communities of scientists and engineers; and tell the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations.
For more information, please visit chemheritage.org.