New Mexico History Museum

More than Footprints: An Archaeological Hike on the Moon

August 27, 2019


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) – As part of this year’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing events, the New Mexico History Museum offers the lecture More than Footprints: An Archaeological Hike on the Moon. This presentation by Beth Laura O’Leary, Ph.D. is in connection with the ongoing exhibit: “A Walk on the Moon:  The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing.”  

The lecture is Sunday, Sept. 22 from 2-3 p.m.  in the auditoriumThis is a free event with limited seating.

Dr. O’Leary, Professor Emerita, (Ph.D., Anthropology, University of New Mexico) had a long teaching career in the Department of Anthropology at New Mexico State University (NMSU) where she taught cultural resource management. She speaks on one of humanity’s most extraordinary archaeological sites –Tranquility Base on the Moon created by two Apollo 11 astronauts July 20, 1969. Today there are more than 200 metric tons of cultural material on the lunar surface. We will visit some of these significant sites and explore how to best preserve our space heritage.

For more than 19 years Dr. O’Leary has been involved with the cultural heritage of the Moon and is one of the creators of the field of Space Archaeology and Heritage. With a grant New Mexico Space Grant Consortium (NASA), she investigated the archaeological assemblage and preservation of the Apollo 11 Tranquility Base site on the Moon. With NMSU students she successfully nominated the artifacts at first lunar landing site to the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties in 2010.  Invited by NASA, she worked with their scientific team to produce “NASA’s Recommendations to Space-Faring Entities: How to Protect and Preserve the Historic and Scientific Value of U.S. Government Lunar Artifacts” (2011).  In 2012, she received an award from NASA for that work.

Her books include: (2017) The Final Mission: Preserving NASA’s Apollo Sites, (with  L.Westwood and M.W. Donaldson), University Press of Florida.; (2015) The Archaeology and Heritage of the Human Movement into Space (with co-editor, P.J. Capelotti), Springer International Press; and (2009) The Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology and Heritage (with co-editor A. G. Darrin, (CRC Taylor & Francis Press). She has chaired many international symposia on Space Archaeology and is on World Archaeological Congress Space Heritage Task Force. She serves on the advisory boards of Springer Press Space and Society Series, METI and For All Moonkind.  A pioneer in this evolving field, she has been interviewed by international media, including among others: Smithsonian, National Geographic, New York Times, LA Times, NPR, Deutsche Radio, Sunlife (China), La Stampa, USA Today, Slate,, Scientific American, Ars Techica, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and also written for BBC, Antiquity and the Washington Post.



About the New Mexico History Museum:

The New Mexico History Museum is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents. Programs and exhibits are supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and its generous donors.

The campus of the New Mexico History Museum includes the Palace of the Governors, the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library, and Pete V. Domenici Building. The Palace of the Governors is noteworthy as the original seat of New Mexico government, the initial home for the Museum of New Mexico, and for its designation as a National Historic Landmark. The New Mexico History Museum presents exhibitions and public programs that acknowledge and reflect on New Mexico’s diverse heritage. Special features include the Palace Press, Native American Artisans Portal Program, and collections held by the Palace Photo Archive, and Chavez History Library The museum also serves as a center for education and historical research.

113 Lincoln Ave. in Santa Fe, NM 87501. (505) 476-5200. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April. Events, news releases and images about activities at the History Museum and other divisions in the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

Related Photos

19-NMHM-2019-Lecture-Buzz Aldrins footprint Apollo 11 July 20 1969

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