About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for Small Steps and Giant Leaps: How Apollo 11 Shaped Our Understanding of Earth and Beyond

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
July 17, 2019 

Good evening. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. Whether you are in here in this room or participating through Facebook or YouTube, I’m pleased you could join us for tonight’s program, “Small Steps and Giant Leaps: How Apollo 11 Shaped Our Understanding of Earth and Beyond.”

Tonight’s program is presented in partnership with the American Geophysical Union, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year, and is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of The Boeing Company. We thank them for their support.

Starting tonight and for the next four days, we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic flight of Apollo 11 and the first Moon landing.

Tomorrow night, July 18, we will screen the recent celebrated documentary Apollo 11, crafted from a newly discovered video and audio recordings. Following the film, NASA chief historian Bill Barry will moderate a discussion with director Todd Douglas Miller, producer Thomas Peterson, and National Archives motion picture archivist Daniel Rooney.

On Friday, July 19, we will show two films in the afternoon. At noon, we will have Mare Tranquilitatis, episode six of the critically acclaimed 1998 HBO series From the Earth to the Moon, and at 3 p.m. we will show Moonwalk One, a 1970 NASA documentary.

Finally, on Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m., we will screen the 2018 feature film, First Man, starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.

Upstairs in the East Rotunda Gallery, be sure to see our special display of four documents that show the multitude of smaller steps and details that were necessary to the success of the Apollo 11 mission. The records include the flight profile for the entire eight days of the mission, the plan for the hour that the Lunar Module landed on the Moon, pages of the Moon landing transcript, and a card that details the itinerary the astronauts were to follow during their Moon walk.

Those documents will be on display through August 7.

To keep informed about events throughout the year, check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

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And now it’s my pleasure to turn the program over the Christine McEntee, the executive director and CEO of the American Geophysical Union. The AGU is a worldwide scientific community that advances the understanding of Earth and space through cooperation in research. She is the third executive director in AGU’s 100-year history. For over 25 years she has made her mark as an association leader and innovator. In 2011 she was chosen for America’s Top Women Mentoring Leaders and in 2012 she was featured in the “100 Women Leaders in STEM.”

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Christine McEntee.