More than 50 years ago, as the space race between the United States and Soviet Union reached a fever pitch, Central Oregon played an important yet little-known role in preparing U.S. astronauts for lunar landscapes. Moon Country: Oregon and the Space Race, an original exhibit celebrating this region’s involvement in the first lunar landing, opens at the High Desert Museum on Saturday, July 6. Moon Country: Oregon and the Space Race features stories and rarely seen photographs from this time period in locations well known to Oregonians, from McKenzie Pass to Paulina Lake. As a backdrop, the exhibit also discusses the turmoil dividing the country during that decade, including the civil rights movement and the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
In addition, The High Desert Museum has partnered with the Deschutes Public Library system and Central Oregon STEM Hub to offer programs throughout the summer that reflect on the history, science and engineering of space exploration. Organizations throughout Central Oregon have joined this summer-long celebration called Our Place in Space. Through Our Place in Space and Moon Country: Oregon and the Space Race, we hope to spark a sense of wonder and to highlight the opportunities for scientific exploration and discovery in our own backyard