Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The line forms here for trip to Moon (1952)

 This is a piece of ephemera from Popular Science August 1952 that connects to one of my favorite 1950s Children's books (I know they all seem to be my favorites): Rocket Away (1953). I blogged about this book on August 12, 2009.

If you had to pick a center of "space culture" and thought in the early 1950s I am not sure that the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History would be the first place to come to mind. However they had a number of exhibitions and planetarium talks that kept the possibility of manned space flight in the public eye. They also hosted in 1951 one of the first space conferences. It was their 1952 conference at the Hayden that led to the publication of the Collier's articles.

But one of their best early publicity efforts was their reservations for the first space trips.  This application was available at the Planetarium, in numerous articles like this one from Popular Science and in Rocket Away. By this 1952 article over 24,000 people had signed up for a space flight. In fact Rocket Away was basically a non-fiction book about their exhibits and planetarium show. This illustration from Rocket Away was showing one of the models they had in their lobby.

The Popular Science article showed some of the other exhibits that helped excite children about space flight.

Museum and Planetariums have functioned as free universities where the public could interact with scientific ideas and as someone said "seeing is believing".  This particular exhibit and the bookstore that accompanied it got space flight books into the hands of thousands of children.  How many of them upon seeing this poster thought they would do that someday?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Wonder what bold colors that final poster was in? Love the design!