The Cross County Mall in Mattoon and its Merchant Association presents “Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission” through Jan. 30, 2020.

The poster exhibition from the Smithsonian celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and explores the birth and development of the American space program and the space race. It is available for viewing in the main corridor during mall hours.

On July 24, 1969, Apollo 11 met President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 challenge of “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” The poster exhibition explores what led the United States to accept this challenge and how the resulting 953,054-mile voyage to the moon and back was accomplished just eight years after the program was authorized. “Destination Moon” examines the mission and recognizes some of the more than 400,000 people employed in NASA programs who worked through the trials, tragedies and triumphs of the 20 missions from 1961 to 1969 before Apollo 11.

Fifty years later, the Apollo program remains the benchmark for great national achievement. When Apollo 11 landed on the moon and humans first set foot on another celestial body, it gave humanity a new perspective from which to view the world. Using this poster exhibition, viewers will be able to look back at this historic mission, and hopefully envision the next generation of innovators, scientists, explorers and astronauts.

The poster exhibition and related public programs are an opportunity for the Cross County Mall and its Merchant Association to highlight its work in sharing the many stories of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and the American story. In keeping with the spirit of the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibition Services (“SITES”), the exhibition will be available to travel to surrounding communities and venues following its residency at the Cross County Mall. Anyone interested in reserving dates should contact Sherri Aldrich at saldrich@ruralking.com for more information.

The Cross County Mall has added other amenities for its customers to enjoy, including day lockers, coat rack, vending food court and, most recently, kiddie rides and activities. Rural King Realty, the real estate division of its parent company, has been revitalizing the mall since taking ownership in late 2017.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For exhibition description and tour schedules, visit sites.si.edu.

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