Moon Rock and CO State Flag

Pop-up Exhibition

Apollo 11 Flag & Moon Rock

As Coloradans encounter the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first visit to another celestial body, there is only one museum in Denver where you can view artifacts that actually visited the moon. They were unveiled to the public on July 20, the date that Apollo 11 touched down on the lunar surface fifty years ago.  

Located in the Holland & Hart Gallery on the second floor of the History Colorado Center, the museum’s display features a miniature silk Colorado state flag that traveled with Neil Armstrong’s personal gear on the mission as well as some of the state’s only examples of lunar rock. The flag was acquired by History Colorado using the Executive Director's Innovation Fund in support of its Contemporary Collecting Initiative. Just six inches by four inches in size, the item was eligible to travel on the mission due to its small size and minimal weight, which were essential factors for anything included on board. 

The lunar rock samples are on loan from the Colorado State Capitol. Estimated to be anywhere between 3 and 4.5 billion years old, lunar rock is essentially priceless—its sale is prohibited by law in the United States—and treasured far beyond earthly gems such as diamonds or gold. The astronauts on Apollo 11 noted that materials from the moon had a distinctive smell. According to Smithsonian Magazine, Armstrong compared it to "the scent of wet ashes" and Buzz Aldrin said it was like "the smell in the air after a firecracker has gone off."  

Like what you see? Out-of-this-world donations are accepted here.