Smithsonian raises $550,000 to preserve Neil Armstrong space suit

Story highlights

  • The Smithsonian Institution partnered with Kickstarter to preserve fading artifacts
  • Donors pledged $550,000 to preserve a space suit from the Apollo moon landing

(CNN)The 46 years since Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon have not lessened the sense of wonder of that that moment. But the decades have deteriorated Armstrong's iconic space suit, which for years has been locked away in climate-controlled storage.

Now, a Kickstarter campaign will ensure that this piece of history goes back on display at the National Air and Space Museum to inspire generations.
    Donors have pledged more than $550,000 to preserve the suit Armstrong wore on the historic 1969 Apollo 11 mission, surpassing the $500,000 goal set by the Smithsonian Institution.
      The Smithsonian now hopes to raise more than $700,000 and preserve the suit worn in 1961 by Alan Shepard, the first American in space.
        This crowdfunding effort is part of a new partnership between Kickstarter and the Smithsonian to bankroll a series of projects.
        More than 7,100 backers have contributed to the Reboot the Suit campaign to cover the cost of preserving Armstrong's suit and building a display case for it.
          The space suit will headline a special Smithsonian exhibit on lunar exploration for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 2019.
          National Air and Space Museum spokeswoman Alison Mitchell said the crowdfunding effort allows space buffs to help protect history.
          "We're really excited about it because we're able to involve a lot more people at a grass-roots level," she said.
          Private funding and donations from individuals or corporations typically cover the costs of preserving and exhibiting artifacts. The Smithsonian receives federal funding only for its operating and maintenance budget.