A bit of the backstory

Our team initially planned to tell a political thriller—a story of Russians and Americans fueled by fear, locked in competition, racing toward the Moon. We thought it would be an exhilarating journey for our guests.

But the more time we spent researching, interviewing, and hearing new stories, it became clear that we were discovering moments that hadn't been shared: stories of men and women, not as heroes, but as real people who could only accomplish their lofty goals with help from their families and support systems. This new story felt truly personal.




Historic NASA images, mission insignia, and pieces from the Adler's collections influenced color and typography choices.


Jim Lovell's Mercury program rejection letter, 1959; Apollo XIII mission patch; Mercury 7 astronauts.


Mission Moon exhibition identity. This execution was featured as a large, promotional banner on an exterior wall of the planetarium.


Type & color

Knockout was used for large first-person quotes and didactic panel headlines. It sits tightly together to allow for more text in tighter spaces, while remaining bold, and powerful. Brandon Text, with its 1930s geometric influences, blends seamlessly with the planetarium's art deco style while remaining highly legible at various sizes.


Didactic panel headline; Didactic panel date; Didactic panel text.


the buildout

A small budget and a tight timeline meant the team needed to be creative. The biggest visual transformation was achieved with paint. Color was used to denote zones throughout the exhibition and to bring attention to key elements, interactions, and artifacts. Even artifact case interiors were painted (a first at the Adler) for increased contrast, bringing new life to the artifacts that often got lost in Shoot for the Moon

The majority of the graphics were printed and assembled in-house. NASA archive imagery, often too small to scale up to the necessary size, was converted to a halftone pattern and enlarged. This fit stylistically with the time period of the exhibition, and hid compression and image-scaling artifacts. 

Special attention was paid to increase overall accessibility in the gallery. Type was updated to adhere to more rigorous visual standards for size and contrast. Physical interactives were created to accommodate folks of many abilities. A ramp was built around the Gemini 12 Spacecraft to ensure guests of all ages, heights, and abilities could get a closer glimpse of this truly remarkable historic artifact.


Top (left to right): Demolition of Shoot for the Moon begins; A ramp is built around the Gemini 12 Spacecraft to allow for more accessible viewing of the artifact; 
Exhibit technicians begin painting the galleries; An old case is repurposed as a display for Mission Control photographs and paraphernalia; Case maker Earl Locke begins artifact case installation.

Bottom (left to right): Once-static Mission Control consoles are wired for lights, audio, and functional switches; The Collections team places artifacts into cases and touches up labels; A new exterior banner goes up on the side of the planetarium; Actor Chris Bresky develops a museum theater piece in the newly completed Mission Control; The first guest attempts to launch a rocket.


(Left to right): Gemini Mission Control; Apollo 11 Moon landing; Rocket launch in action.


Visual and interactive design: David Miller / Exhibit development: Annie Vedder / NASA expert: Michelle Nichols / Collections: Jennifer Brand
Editing: Sarah Cole, Karen Donnelly, Aubrey Henretty / Exhibit technicians: Efrain Chavez, Russ Kotlin, Mike McGowan, Isaac Morales,  Jonathan Pollack,
QuoVadis Raines, Brian Weiser / Video production: Latoya Flowers / Special thanks to: Steve Burkland, Alexis Cooke, The Dixon Family,
Marilyn and Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., Patrick McPike, Derrick Rohl, Melissa Szwan, and Sarah Warner