'Apollo at the Park' to Bring Armstrong Spacesuit Statues to MLB Baseball

“Apollo at the Park" will bring replica statues of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong's iconic spacesuit to Major League Baseball parks for the 50the anniversary of the first moon landing.
“Apollo at the Park" will bring replica statues of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong's iconic spacesuit to Major League Baseball parks for the 50the anniversary of the first moon landing. (Image credit: Smithsonian/MLB via collectSPACE.com)

A new team is taking to the fields of Major League Baseball parks this summer, and they are out of this world.

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has partnered with Major League Baseball (MLB) to deploy 15 replica statues of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong's iconic spacesuit to ballparks across the United States. "Apollo at the Park" will exhibit the interactive, full-sized statues as part of the museum's nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of Armstrong's mission, the first moon landing.

"Baseball ballparks are the perfect venues for new generations to learn more about that summer night [on] July 20, 1969," said Ellen Stofan, director of the National Air and Space Museum. "They allow us to celebrate Apollo's 50th across the country."

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3-D scans of Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit (seen above) are being used to create the "Apollo at the Park" statues. (Image credit: Smithsonian/MLB via collectSPACE.com)

Armstrong's Apollo 11 A7L spacesuit was recently the focus of a conservation effort funded in part by the Smithsonian's first Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and will go back on display for the first time in 13 years at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on July 16.

The suit statues heading to the ballparks, created using a 3-D scan of the suit, will be made out of a blend of rigid resin for strength and durability for outdoor display.

The first statue will be unveiled at Nationals Park in Washington, DC on June 4. The other 14 suits will appear at other ballparks soon after.

In addition to the Washington Nationals, National League teams receiving statues include the Atlanta Braves (SunTrust Park), Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field), Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ball Park), Colorado Rockies (Coors Field), Pittsburgh Pirates (PNC Park) and San Francisco Giants (Oracle Park).

Apollo at the Park will also be exhibited by American League teams, including the Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park), Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field), Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park), Houston Astros (Minute Maid Park), Minnesota Twins (Target Field), New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium), Seattle Mariners (T-Mobile Park) and Tampa Bay Rays (Tropicana Field).

Each spacesuit statue will have an interactive component where fans can use their phone cameras to scan parts of the suit — including the Apollo 11 patch, NASA insignia, American flag and glove — to access videos and additional information about the first moon landing mission, astronauts and the 50th anniversary. Fans are also encouraged to share photos of themselves with the suit on social media using the hashtag #SnaptheSuit.

Several of the baseball clubs will be hosting events in conjunction with the Apollo at the Park program. The National Air and Space Museum and the Washington Nationals will host "Apollo Night" on July 5 with themed activities, stargazing and a limited giveaway of Apollo at the Park t-shirts. More event dates are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

As the U.S. national pastime, baseball provides exciting moments for millions of Americans every year, according to the National Air and Space Museum.

"Apollo at the Park will celebrate the energy Americans felt when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon," said Stofan.

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Robert Z. Pearlman
collectSPACE.com Editor, Space.com Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.