Armstrong Air and Space Museum a family affair Friday


By Tara Jones - tjones@limanews.com



Dean Walther and his son, Austin, 7, explore the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday afternoon.

Dean Walther and his son, Austin, 7, explore the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday afternoon.


Tara Jones | The Lima News

Several inflatables and replicas were on site at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration.

Several inflatables and replicas were on site at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration.


Tara Jones | The Lima News

Leyna Garth, 8, braved Friday’s heat in her spacesuit to the festivities at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum.


Tara Jones | The Lima News

Wapakoneta native Becki Numbers Gobert, right, gets an autograph from astronaut Mike Mallory’s meet and greet Friday.


Tara Jones | The Lima News

NASA TV included a brief live segment from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in its Friday broadcast.


Tara Jones | The Lima News

WAPAKONETA — The Armstrong Air and Space Museum was packed Friday afternoon as guests were taking the chance to enjoy the Apollo 11 50th anniversary while also soaking up some A/C.

Friday’s events at the museum were headlined by a live appearance on NASA TV’s “NASA’s Giant Leaps: Past and Future,” providing viewers a quick glimpse into Neil Armstrong’s hometown.

While additional segments were broadcast at other locations throughout the country, the museum had meet and greets with astronauts Michael Good, Mike Mallory, Don Thomas, Sunita Williams, Robert Springer and Greg Johnson.

Lauree Bystrom and Becki Numbers Gobert drove from Nashville overnight to make it to the meet and greets. Gobert is a Wapakoneta native and brought along fellow space enthusiast and friend Bystrom.

“If you’re from Neil Armstrong’s hometown, you’ve got to come back, it’s not an option,” Gobert explained. “That’s why we left (Thursday) night, so we could get here because we wanted to meet the astronauts.”

But Gobert plans to return to some of her favorite spots, like LaGrande Pizza and Kewpee, while in town, and also tried out moon beer. True to their roots, Gobert’s daughter, Emily, is studying to be an astronaut at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, but was unable to attend the homecoming.

“It’s about the whole atmosphere,” she said. “I mean, there’s excitement in the town — it’s a small town, and everybody is excited about it.”

Dean Walther, of Columbus, made his first trip to the museum Friday with son Austin, 7, and father-in-law Robert Reed in tow.

“I work in the aviation industry as an air traffic controller, so I’ve always been hugely interested in all the Apollo stuff,” Walther said. “We were actually just watching all of it for this. We’re kind of geeks in that way.”

Austin said his favorite part was seeing the spacecraft at the museum after watching those movies.

“I’m excited to bring my dad back here. I remember him showing me photos he took of the television of Buzz (Aldrin) and Neil (Armstrong) walking around,” Dean said. “If I could go back in history to see one event, this would be it.”

Austin said he’s looking more at a career in baseball or paleontology, but Leyna Garth, 8, was ready for takeoff in her NASA spacesuit costume.

“It started off she wanted to build the rockets, but then she decided she wants to be in them,” her father Kyle explained. Leyna was most surprised to see how cramped the spacecraft were, she said, but that didn’t seem to give her doubt.

The Garths also brought along family visiting from South Africa.

“They wanted to come up here (to Ohio to visit), and we thought it would be fitting to come here when we had the opportunity, especially considering it’s the anniversary.”

Activities will continue at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dean Walther and his son, Austin, 7, explore the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday afternoon.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/07/web1_ArmstrongMuseum1.jpgDean Walther and his son, Austin, 7, explore the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday afternoon. Tara Jones | The Lima News
Several inflatables and replicas were on site at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/07/web1_ArmstrongMuseum5.jpgSeveral inflatables and replicas were on site at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum Friday for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebration. Tara Jones | The Lima News
Leyna Garth, 8, braved Friday’s heat in her spacesuit to the festivities at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/07/web1_ArmstrongMuseum2.jpgLeyna Garth, 8, braved Friday’s heat in her spacesuit to the festivities at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum. Tara Jones | The Lima News
Wapakoneta native Becki Numbers Gobert, right, gets an autograph from astronaut Mike Mallory’s meet and greet Friday.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/07/web1_ArmstrongMuseum3.jpgWapakoneta native Becki Numbers Gobert, right, gets an autograph from astronaut Mike Mallory’s meet and greet Friday. Tara Jones | The Lima News
NASA TV included a brief live segment from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in its Friday broadcast.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/07/web1_ArmstrongMuseum4.jpgNASA TV included a brief live segment from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in its Friday broadcast. Tara Jones | The Lima News

By Tara Jones

tjones@limanews.com

Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.

Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.

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