Smithsonian partners with Kickstarter - Museums Association

Smithsonian partners with Kickstarter

First project will raise funds to conserve Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit
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Rebecca Atkinson
The Smithsonian Institute in the US has partnered with Kickstarter to run a series of crowdfunding campaigns, starting with a project to raise funds to conserve Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit.

This is the first time the crowdfunding platform has partnered with a museum. A series of projects will take place over the next year, with a focus on artefacts, exhibitions and projects.

“Through Kickstarter, we are reaching global audiences with the ability to make amazing projects come to life,” said Yoonhyung Lee, the director of digital philanthropy at the Smithsonian. “The public will have the chance to directly contribute to specific Smithsonian projects and follow the creative process from fundraising through to completion, regardless of their level of support.”

The museum's first campaign, Reboot the Suit, has already hit its target of $500,000. The money will be used to conserve Armstrong's spacesuit and put it on display for the first time since 2006 in a climate-controlled display case.

The suit will be put on temporary display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in July 2019. It will then go on permanent display in the new Destination Moon gallery, which is scheduled to open in 2020.

The museum also hopes to use 3D technology to digitise the suit, and develop online exploration tools and educational materials.

The campaign's target has now been increased to $700,000, and the museum will use the additional money to conserve, digitise and display the Mercury suit worn by Alan Shepard during America’s first manned space flight in 1961.

The majority of the museum’s spacesuit collection is stored in climate-controlled storage, which is not accessible to the public.

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