Mark Armstrong, one of the sons of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, checks out the spaceship that his father rode to the moon at the Museum of Flight’s “Destination Moon” exhibit. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)
“Destination Moon,” the traveling exhibit making its debut at Seattle’s Museum of Flight this month, puts some of the greatest treasures of the Space Race on display. But if you know where to look, you’ll also spot little treasures that shed light on the life of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong.
For example, take a close look at the picture of two men and a boat, hanging over the black-and-white TV in what looks like a wood-paneled living room. It’s a reproduction of a portrait that astronaut Wally Schirra commissioned as a joke.
The painting shows Armstrong in the company of another Apollo astronaut, Pete Conrad, who ran the boat aground because the two of them got distracted by some water-skiing horseplay.
Neil Armstrong’s 55-year-old son, Mark, says the episode taught his father and Conrad a valuable lesson: “Even the best pilots in the world can end up grounded if they’re not paying attention,” he told me during a sneak preview of the exhibit.