Neil Armstrong Papers Exhibit chronicles life of Purdue's most famous astronaut

WTHR photo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WTHR) - Long before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, he walked to class at Purdue.

His report card proves it.

"Neil Armstrong represents, I think, what many students who come to Purdue aspire to be, someone who works really hard, who is polite, kind and precise, but also he had a great sense of humor, so he could laugh at himself," said Tracy Grimm, Purdue Armstrong Papers archivist.

The Neil Armstrong Papers exhibit on the 4th floor of the humanities library in the Stewart Center is nothing to laugh at. It's an impressive collection from Armstrong's personal belongings. The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 pm.

"You can see some space food, toasted bread cubes, chewing gum, a toothbrush," said Grimm.

The items on display are just a portion of 450 boxes of materials donated to Purdue by the Armstrong family, an Apollo 11 uniform, personal photographs, a Purdue flag Neil carried to the moon and some 70,000 pages of fan mail.

From Purdue to the moon and back to Earth, the exhibit chronicles the life of Purdue's most famous astronaut.

"Everyone wrote letters, they wanted something. They wanted to meet him, so yeah, he was a rockstar," Grimm said

Armstrong answered countless letters from around the world and from West Lafayette, keeping carbon copies.

Armstrong died in 2012. But he left his footprint on history, on the moon and at Purdue.

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