KILGORE — Earthlings of all ages were flowing through the Kilgore Public Library this past week and a NASA exhibit on loan from Johnson Space Center — with more space exploration ahead in July.
Long panel displays lead patrons on a tour of the solar system under the watchful eye of a replica moon landing space suit. The décor in the library’s common room has made way for dozens of photographs capturing astronauts’ experiences in orbit with other space memorabilia displayed as well.
The pieces were specifically chosen by Kilgore library staffers, who called dibs on the traveling displays well-ahead of next month’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The exhibits will be in Kilgore through this week.
“We requested it a year ago,” says Kaitlyn deGraffenried, the library’s technical services and programming coordinator. “We did our work ahead of time — we went and looked and picked out what we thought would be cool.”
She’s excited to share the handpicked educational material with residents.
“It’s neat,” she said. “It’s really neat they offer that kind of stuff.”
Lisa White brought her children to tour the exhibit Tuesday morning.
“Isn’t it interesting?” she said, awestruck to learn Saturn’s moon, Titan, is larger than the planet Mercury, one of numerous fun facts visitors can pick up. “It’s amazing.”
A local home-schooler, White is linking the traveling exhibit into her children’s education.
“We’re going to get some books now on planets.”
The NASA Exhibit is open for guests through Friday during the library’s normal operating hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at 301 N. Henderson Blvd. The library is closed July 4.
And more activities are planned 10 to 11 a.m. July 10 as the Kilgore library celebrates 50 years since Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon.
Activities that morning include a children’s storytime as well as displays and hands-on activities focused on the moon presented by the Center for Earth & Space Science Education. Space is limited — tickets will be passed out 30 minutes before the July 10 event.
And on July 12, library visitors who register in advance can visit the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s inflatable planetarium during the Discovery Dome’s one-day stop in Kilgore. Tickets will be available in July. Learn more at Facebook.com/KilgorePublicLibrary .