Before there was NASA, there was the Rocket City.
Huntsville has a long history at the forefront of American space exploration and played a vital role in winning the Space Race of the 1960s. And there’s no better time to celebrate that history than now: December marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission on which a Huntsville-designed Saturn V rocket sent men into orbit around the moon for the first time, and is on the eve of next year’s events marking the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
For its December meeting, the Huntsville/Madison County Historical Society will host U.S. Space & Rocket Center Curator Ed Stewart who will share the history of how Huntsville became the Rocket City and turned America into a leader in space exploration in a talk with a unique twist. “Relics of the Rocket City” will relate that story through the unique perspective of the artifacts it produced that are in the collection of the Rocket Center. Stewart will also share information about local plans for next year’s Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration.
The meeting will be held on Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Education Training Building at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (the separate building on the eastern edge of the campus with the large NASA logo on the side).
Stewart has worked at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center for more than 13 years, and has served as the Director of Exhibits and Curation for the last eight. His responsibilities include designing exhibits, managing incoming and outgoing traveling exhibits, as well as preserving the archival and object collections, one of the largest space collections in the world.
This meeting will be part of the Historical Society’s Hometown Huntsville campaign celebrating Alabama’s Bicentennial, focused on offering a “Huntsville History 101” approach to let city residents who have never had the opportunity to learn about its origins hear the big events that shaped the Rocket City.