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Where today are the Apollo 11 Lunar Sample Displays?

In November 1969, then-U.S. President Richard Nixon requested that NASA create approximately 250 displays containing lunar surface material and the flags of 135 nations, U.S. possessions and states.

Each presentation included 0.05 grams of Apollo 11 moon dust, in the form of four small pieces encased in an acrylic button, as well as the flag of the recipient nation or state, also flown on the first manned lunar landing mission.

The displays that were presented to foreign heads of state included the inscription:
Presented to the People of ____________ by Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America.

This Flag of Your Nation was Carried to the Moon and Back by Apollo 11 and This Fragment of the Moon's Surface was Brought to Earth by the Crew of That First Manned Lunar Landing.
(With exception to the plaque for Venezuela: it was discovered that the nation's flag was not flown aboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Instead, a flag carried on Apollo 12 was used with the wording: "This flag of your nation was carried to the moon and back, and this fragment of the moon's surface was brought to Earth by the crew of the first manned lunar landing.")

Distribution of the lunar sample displays

Once gifted, each of the lunar sample displays became the property of the recepient entity and therefore was no longer subject to being tracked by NASA. All other lunar samples' locations are well documented by the U.S. space agency to this day (with exception to similarly gifted Apollo 17 goodwill moon rocks).

As property of the nation or state, the Apollo 11 lunar samples are now subject to the laws for public gifts as set by that country. In most cases, as in the United States, public gifts cannot be legally transferred to individual ownership without the passage of additional legislation.

Since 2005, collectSPACE has attempted to locate the current whereabouts of all the Apollo 11 lunar sample displays. The following chart details those efforts.

Special gratitude is extended to former NASA Office of Inspector General special agent Joseph Gutheinz, who today as a professor at the University of Phoenix, Arizona, has challenged his students to locate the displays.

Do you know the current status of an Apollo 11 display? Write us at

Nation / State   Location / Status  
  Located By
Argentina   Planetario Galileo Galilei, Buenos Aires  
  I. Danforth
R. Tohmé
P. de León
Australia   National Archives of Australia, "Memory of a Nation" exhibit, Canberra     K. Dougherty
Austria   Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna)  
  M. Köberl
Belgium   Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences, Brussels  
  T. Sterling/
Associated Press
Botswana   Botswana National Museum (National Museum and Art Gallery), Gaborone (as of 2006)     E. Ray
Central African Republic      
Ceylon (Sri Lanka)   Natural History Museum, Colombo  
  M. Rodrigo/
T. Heenatigala
Chile   Eduardo Frei Montalva's Historic House Museum, Santiago  
  C. Gómez
Colombia   El Planetario de Bogotá, Bogota     J. Russo
Congo (Brazzaville)      
Congo (Kinshasa)      
Costa Rica   Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose (in storage)  
  R. Fernando
Czechslovakia   Vojenský historický ústav (Military History Institute), Prague     V. Michálek
Denmark   Geological Museum, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen     L. Aagaard/
Dominican Republic   Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Santo Domingo  
  E. Garcia
El Salvador      
Equatorial Guinea      
Finland   Urho Kekkonen Museum Tamminiemi, Helsinki     J. Oswick
France   Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Nantes     J. Gutheinz
Germany   Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Frankfurt  
  U. Lotzmann
Guatemala   Held by the Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte (Ministry of Culture and Sport), Guatemala City  
  J. Cabrera
H. Ramírez
Hungary   Magyar Természettudományi Múzeum, Budapest     E. Ray
Iceland   Held in storage at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Garðabær  
  K. Jónasson
Ireland   Accidentally discarded after an Oct. 3, 1977 fire destroyed the Meridian room at Dunsink Observatory, Dublin, where it had been on display. Now among the rubble at the Finglas landfill (dump).     C. Luff
Ivory Coast      
Japan   National Museum, Tokyo  
  T. Sterling/
Associated Press
Korea   National Museum of Korea, Seoul  
Laos   "Haw Kham" Royal Palace Museum, Luang Prabang     T. Brattstrom
Luxembourg   National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg City  
  P. Buchholz
Malaysia   Natural History Museum, Putrajaya (in storage)  
  P. Ang
Maldive Islands   National Museum, Sultan Park, Malé  
  K. MacTaggart
Malta   Museum of Natural Science, Gozo  
Mexico   Universum, Museo de las Ciencias, Mexico City     R. Zúñiga
Muscat and Oman      
Nepal   National Museum of Nepal, Kathmandu     T. Sterling/
Associated Press
Netherlands   National Museum of the History of Science and Medicine in Leiden  
  E. Laan
New Zealand   Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington  
Nicaragua   Purchased (under questionable circumstances) by Las Vegas casino owner Bob Stupak in November 1987 for $10,000 and 200,000 shares of stock. Three years after his passing, the display is being returned by his attorney Richard Wright to the people of Nicaragua by way of NASA.  
  J.L. Smith/
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Photo credit: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Norway   Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim  
  G. Haugnes/
Paraguay   Instituto de Historia y Museo Militar, Asunción  
  J. Russo
Poland   Olsztyńskie Planetarium i Obserwatorium Astronomiczne, Olsztyn  
  T. Sterling/
M. Scislowska/
Associated Press

Photo: A. S. Pilski
Romania   Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a României, Bucharest  
  D. Ionascu /
San Marino      
Saudi Arabia      
Sierra Leone      
Singapore   Singapore Science Centre     C. Baaijens
South Africa   On display in the old Cape Colony Parliament building, Parliament, Cape Town  
  K. Gottschalk

Photo: C. Huegel
Southern Yemen      
Soviet Union   Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, Moscow  
  S. Misetsky
A. Korobeynikov
Sweden   Reported stolen from Naturhistoriska riksmuseet (National Museum of Natural History) in Stockholm in 2002     J. Persson
Switzerland   focusTerra, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich  
  M. Meier
Taiwan   National Museum of Natural Science, Taichung  
Trinidad and Tobago      
United Arab Republic      
United Kingdom   10 Downing Street (in the study), London  
Upper Volta      
Uruguay   Previously on display at the Planetarium of Montevideo; moved in 2011 to the Captain Boiso Lanza Air Base for safe keeping.  
  C. Alustiza
Western Samoa      
Yugoslavia   Museum of Yugoslav History, Muzej 25 Maj (Museum of the 25th of May), Belgrad, Serbia  
  J. Igor
T. Sterling/
Associated Press
United Nations      
Vatican City   Vatican Museum  
  G. Consolmagno
Alabama   Held in storage by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery  
  J. Hardin
Alaska   Transferred to the Transportation Branch of the Alaska State Museum (Alaska Transportation Museum), Anchorage, where it was on display when a 1973 fire tore through the museum. Claimed as found among the debris by Arthur Coleman Anderson, 17, and removed as a "neat souvenir."

In December 2010, Anderson filed suit (PDF) against the State of Alaska to declare him the owner of the rock or to compensate him for care of the moon rock since 1973.

In August 2012, in compliance with a court order, Anderson turned over the display to NASA for "verification and safekeeping until eventual ownership is established." In September 2012, Anderson surrendered the display to the state of Alaska.

As of December 2012, on display at the Alaska State Museum in Juneau.
Arizona   Currently in safekeeping by the Arizona Historical Society while the Arizona Mining and Minerals Museum, Phoenix becomes part of the new Arizona Centennial Museum.  
  A. Nystrom
M. Barkley
Arkansas   Arkansas Museum of Discovery, Little Rock  
  B. Jordan
California   San Diego Air & Space Museum  
  F. French
Colorado   Removed in July 2010 from the State Capitol Building, Denver (third floor, next to Dome Desk) and placed into storage while a more secure display is devised.  
  R. Griffis
Connecticut   Museum of Connecticut History, State Library, Hartford  
  Y. Yeomans
Delaware   "...stolen [in 1976] right off the plaque" per Ann Baker Horsey, Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs  
  L. Marianiello
P. George/DFM News
Florida   Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee (in storage)  
  R. Griffis
K. Friedman
Georgia   State Capitol Building (fourth floor, case no. 1), Atlanta  
  J. Smart
B. Teetzen
A. Rasmusson
Hawaii   Rediscovered after a routine inventory of gifts inside a cabinet in the Executive Chambers on the fifth floor of the Hawai'i State Capitol, Honolulu  
  J. Gutheinz
W. Hoover/ Honolulu Advertiser
Idaho   Idaho State Historical Society, Boise  
  J. Newton
Illinois   Illinois State Museum, Springfield  
  L. Moore
Indiana   Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis (in storage)  
  J. McGauley
Iowa   State Historical Museum, Des Moines  
  J. Sahagun
Kansas   Kansas Museum of History, Topeka  
  B. McCalester-Turner
Kentucky   Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort (in storage)  
  B. Officer
Maine   State Museum, Augusta  
  L. Applewhite
Maryland   Maryland State House, Annapolis  
  S. Freeman
E. Ray
Massachusetts   Museum of Science, Boston  
  V. Wolf
Michigan   Michigan Historical Museum, Lansing  
  C. Keller
T. Hale

Photo: T. Wirt
Minnesota   Found amongst military artifacts in a storage area at the Veterans Service Building in St. Paul; transferred by the Minnesota National Guard to the Minnesota Historical Society (as of Nov. 28, 2012).  
  Photo: Minnesota Historical Society
Mississippi   Department of Archives and History, Jackson (in storage)  
  I. Washington
Missouri   Missouri State Museum, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City  
  K. Keil
Montana   Montana Historical Society, Helena  
  A. Egbeyemi
Nebraska   Lost in the governor's mansion for a number of years. Found by Diane Nelson, former Gov. Ben Nelson's wife, as the mansion was undergoing renovations.

Now on public display at the Ralph Mueller Planetarium at the University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln.
  R. Dunn
Nevada   Nevada State Museum, Carson City (in storage)  
  R. Stoldal
C. Lygren/ KOLO-TV
New Hampshire   New Hampshire State House, Concord  
  T. Taber
New Jersey   New Jersey State Museum, Trenton (wooden podium display with the New Jersey flag held in storage)  
New Mexico   Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe  
  V. Avila
New York      
North Carolina   North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh  
North Dakota   State Historical Society, Bismarck (in storage)  
  P. Depweg
R. Dates

S. Silengo and
M. Halvorson/
Historical Society

Ohio   Ohio Historical Center, Columbus  
  D. Holder
Oklahoma   Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma City  
  R. Niang-Casey
Oregon   State Capitol Building (second floor, Governor's ceremonial office), Salem  
  T. Dowdell
Pennsylvania   Planetarium, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg  
  M. Wilkins

Photo: D. Gleiter/The Patriot News
Rhode Island   State Library, State House (second floor), Providence  
  J. Brooks
T. Evans
South Carolina   Governor's Mansion, Columbia  
  E. Ray
South Dakota   South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre (in archives)  
  S. Little
Tennessee   Tennessee State Museum, Nashville (in archives)  
  J. Smart
Texas   Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock (in storage)  
  E. Ray
Vermont   held in the collection of the Vermont Historical Society, Barre  
  M. Guice
Virginia   The Library of Virginia, Richmond (on temporary display)

Previously exhibited in the Capitol
  M. Townes
Washington   Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma  
  M. Hammer
West Virginia   West Virginia State Museum, Charleston  
  E. Velez
Wisconsin   Wisconsin Historical Museum, Madison (in storage)  
  E. Ray
Wyoming   Wyoming State Capitol Building, Cheyenne  
  I. Lothamer
District of Columbia      
Guam   held in a vault, awaiting completion of the Gaum Museum, Hagatna  
  R. Griffis
Puerto Rico   La Fortaleza (Palacio de Santa Catalina), San Juan  
  V. Scott
Virgin Islands      
American Samoa   Jean P. Haydon Museum, Pago Pago  
  A. Stafford

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