Lunar Landing, 1969

[caption id="attachment2637" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="">Men Hanging Apollo 11 banner Men hanging banner congratulating Apollo 11. Watch the full story.[/caption]

45 years ago people still weren’t sure if we would ever walk on the moon. On July 16, 1969 Apollo 11 took off on their historic mission, and four days later, on July 20th, they landed on the moon. This event was one of the most important things that had happened in human history so far. Not only was it a huge breakthrough for astronomers and other scientists, it was also a landmark in media history, drawing the largest television audience for any live event broadcast. The footage that people watched that day, 45 years ago, is a very important part of our history and has been preserved accordingly. However, because the first lunar landing was such a momentous event, there was a lot more media produced at the time, than just the footage broadcast from the moon. If you think of the lunar landing broadcast as a newscast, then there were in fact newscasts about newscasts. We think it’s important to preserve these pieces of history as well.

[caption id="attachment2638" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href="">Man from Boston Museum of Science. Man from the Boston Museum of Science on Apollo 11 exhibits. Watch the full story.[/caption]

So far we’ve been able to digitize two examples of these news stories. Both aired on WHDH on July 21, 1969, the day after man first stepped foot on the moon. The first is from reporter John Henning. It starts with b-roll of exhibits about Apollo 11. Henning explains that even though the broadcast schedule got changed around the previous night, Bostonians were patient, flexible, eager viewers. The story even includes shots of people watching the landing on TVs in their homes.

The second story is from reporter Bill Zimmerman at the Boston Museum of Science. Zimmerman interviews a man who works at the museum about a scene caused the day before when they canceled a planetarium show in order to broadcast the lunar landing at the museum. The story demonstrates that not everyone was as hyped about this Apollo mission as it might have seemed; Zimmerman’s deadpan manner is a perfect match for how incredulous the museum worker is about “science enthusiasts” who don’t want to watch a man land on the moon.

In our collections, there are even more news stories about Apollo 11, which we haven’t been able to view or digitize yet. If you’d like to see more, consider sponsoring one of those stories through our digitization on demand program.


Roach, John. "Apollo Anniversary: Moon Landing 'Inspired World.'" National Geographic News. July 16, 2004.