The Texarkana Museums System will take you to the moon in July in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
This past Saturday kicked it off with a formal debate at the Museum of Regional History: Was the moon landing fact or fiction? And here's another fact: Children can make rocket ships and space helmets at Discovery Place Interactive Museum this weekend and next weekend.
Several such events are planned for the remainder of the month, including a moon landing watch party on Saturday, July 27, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the P.J. Ahern Home, 403 Laurel St. in Texarkana, Ark. The fee is $15 for TMS members, $20 for non-members. Reservations are required.
"We are doing a themed month at all of the museums," said Velvet Cool, the TMS board president, "so each Saturday's event in July will focus on the moon landing or space."
This Saturday, for example, Discovery Place hosts an event from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. where mock space helmets will be given away. "Every kid that attends will get a pre-made space helmet and then we'll talk about space helmets and they'll get to decorate theirs and take it home," Cool said.
They'll also video chat with Texarkana native Terry Hill, who works for NASA.
"His specialty is he works on the space suits," Cool said. "He's going to give us a little history of what he does for NASA and how he got involved in that, and then he's going to answer any questions that we might have."
Admission is $8 per person or $3 for TMS members and $5 for people with a SNAP or EBT card. Sign up ahead of time so the museum will have enough helmets on hand.
Next after that is a discussion led by Dr. Craig Nakashian of Texas A&M University-Texarkana at the Ace of Clubs House from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on July 20. Admission is $5.
"The Future That Never Was" is the lecture's subtitle and topic. "He's basically going to be talking about all of the historic predictions for the future and how those may or not have materialized," Cool said.
That same day and time down the street at Discovery Place, children can make and decorate their own rocket ships. Admission is $5. Registration is recommended.
Then on July 27, the Apollo 11 moon landing watch party helps attendees experience an iconic moment in the nation's history. This party is for adults. Food and beer will be served (bring your own wine).
"We are going to go back in time at the Ahern House to 1969 and we are going to watch the actual moon landing, and we will have some 1969 moon landing-themed drinks and snacks. You might expect to get a glass of Tang and a pig-in-a-blanket, or a pineapple with some cottage cheese in the middle of it," Cool said. "We are encouraging everybody to come dressed in 1969 attire. There is a costume contest."
That same Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Discovery Place, they'll be doing moon phasing activities. "We're going to learn the different types of moon phases and what happens to the moon during each phase," Cool said. Admission is $5.
(Get tickets and register for events at TexarkanaMuseums.org/Events. More info: 903-793-4831.)