Suited for Space

December 15, 2012 – March 3, 2013

Suited for Space


In 1961, President John F. Kennedy exhibit-suited-for-space3stated the United States would land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade. To achieve this ambitious goal, astronauts would need not only a spacecraft to launch them safely into space, but a spacesuit that would protect them as well. Without the proper clothing to keep them alive while traveling, living and working beyond the bonds of Earth, space exploration was not possible.

ATHM will host Suited for Space, a new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition (SITES) and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, explores the evolution of spacesuit development from the first quarter of the 20th century until the dawn of the shuttle era.

The exhibition features large-scale photographs of suits worn by astronauts from Project Mercury through the Skylab program as well as suits used in testing and training. The photographs featured in Suited for Space were taken by Smithsonian photographer Mark Avino. In addition, Avino, in collaboration with Ronald Cunningham produced new X-ray images that provide a unique view of the interiors of the spacesuits. While the fragility of these spacesuits prevents them from traveling, the exhibition will feature a replica Apollo spacesuit on loan from NASA and 10 objects from the National Air and Space Museum’s collection, including a glove, a boot and helmets. Avino’s photographs provide a visual timeline of the spacesuits’ development over the years.

exhibit-suited-for-space1 exhibit-suited-for-space2


Suited for Space includes suits that made history—like the one Buzz Aldrin wore on the Moon—and those that never left the ground such as the Mark V spacesuit designed for Project Mercury. The design of the Mark V suit included an over-sized shoulder joint that provided an expanded level of mobility. However, with three astronauts sitting side-by-side in a capsule the size of the front seat of a small car, the suit was not feasible for the Apollo mission. A visitor to the exhibition can see an exciting visual timeline of the spacesuits’ evolution over the years. In addition, the exhibition has its own Facebook page for space trivia, curatorial insight, and general fun. Visit

Suited for Space is developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The national exhibition tour is generously supported by DuPont.

smithsonian DuPont

The following free programs we offered in partnership with Suited for Space

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Grand Opening of Suited for Space with Dan Barry 
Exhibit will be open 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  |  Talk by Dan Barry begins at 6:30 p.m.
Grand opening, featuring Dan Barry, a retired NASA astronaut, engineer and scientist who also gained fame as a contestant on the reality show Survivor. A veteran of three space flights on the Endeavour and Discovery from 1996 to 2001, Barry logged more than 734 hours in space, including four spacewalks totaling more than 25 hours.

  • Interview with Dan Barry on WCAP:

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Super Saturday: To Infinity and Beyond
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Enjoy free admission and special hands-on activities and demonstrations related to space exploration, including an up-close look at one-of-a-kind working model rockets and the chance to build and launch your own stomp rocket. With very special guest David Reed, an engineer in NASA’s Mission Control who calculated successful safe-return trajectories for the Apollo 11 moon landing and the crippled Apollo 13’s safe return to Earth.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
An evening with Dr. Dava Newman and Jeffrey Hoffman
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
An evening with Dr. Dava Newman, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT, and Jeffrey Hoffman, former NASA Astronaut and Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. They will bring the prototype of a new kind of spacesuit they are developing: the BioSuit. In 2007, Dr. Newman was named one of the Innovators of the Year by Time magazine for the BioSuit, which is designed to enhance astronauts’ locomotion and life support when spacewalking.

The Smithsonian Community Grant Program, funded by MetLife Foundation, is a proud sponsor of these public programs:

smithsonian-sm Metlife_Foundation

Suited for Space is accompanied by a richly illustrated
book, titled:

Spacesuits: The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Collection available through powerHouse Books. DuPont’s sponsorship reflects the company’s commitment to protecting people though innovative protective apparel. DuPont is a science-based products and services company.

Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.

More information on the show at:

Additional Information:
Press Release: American Textile History Museum Presents Suited for Space

Media Partners

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