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Neil Armstrong's MOON spacesuit: One small donation from you - one giant leap for Mankind

Smithsonian wants to raise $500k for spacesuit exhibit

The Smithsonian Institution has launched a bold attempt to raise $500,000 from the public so that it can exhibit the historic spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong for the first landing on the Moon.

The Washington DC organization marked the 46th anniversary of Apollo 11's touchdown on the Moon by creating a Kickstarter campaign to raise the dosh to fund the construction of a special climate-controlled display case and a full 3D digitization of the NASA suit.

Those who back the campaign will receive rewards ranging from a digital poster download to a personal tour of the Emil Buehler Conservation Lab to see the suit in person – you'll need to cough up $10,000 (£6,400) for that tour, and it's limited to a maximum of 10 donors.

The "Reboot the Suit" campaign hopes that it can raise the cash over the next 30 days. At the time of writing, backers had so far pledged over $79,000 (£50,744) in support.

If funded, the display case and scan will, if completed on time, mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing in 2019. The spacesuit will then, in 2020, go into a larger permanent exhibit of the Moon landings at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

If the funding fails, the suit goes back into storage.

The Smithsonian, which operates 19 museums in Washington and New York City as well as the National Zoo and nine research institutes, is testing Kickstarter as a possible way to help fund the special projects and exhibits not covered by its federal funding.

The Institute is planning "Reboot the Suit" to be the first in a year-long pilot program to raise private funds with Kickstarter for various museum projects.

"During this pilot year, the focus will be on artifacts, exhibitions, and projects that need funding, giving the public a variety of opportunities to support the Smithsonian based on their own interests," the institute said in announcing the campaign.

As with other Kickstarter projects, those Smithsonian campaigns that fail to hit their funding goal will not receive any money and pledged donations will not be processed. ®

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