Experience the Apollo 8 launch at the Museum of Science and Industry's 'Moon Room 1968'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Fifty years ago, on Christmas Eve, the Apollo 8 astronauts became the first humans to ever orbit the moon. Now, a new interactive experience at the Museum of Science and Industry will take guests - literally - back in time.

It was a countdown that millions of Americans watched from their living rooms.

"We actually have footage of the mission playing on TV. Really that moment when family and friends gathered 50 years ago in December to watch everything come together," said Anne Rashford, MSI Director of Special Exhibitions.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, the Museum of Science and Industry reproduced a pop-up vintage living room. It's inspired By Captain James Lovell's real house, where his own family witnessed the historic moment in space exploration.

"This great image of Marilyn, his wife, three kids watching. 'Wow, Dad is up in space right now,'" said Isabel Morales, MSI Senior Communications Partner.

Some hidden treasures are also part of Moon Room 1968, including a Lego space shuttle Lovell made as he was on the mission. Just outside the new pop-up experience is the original Apollo 8 command module, where ABC7 found Sandy McDade.

"I remember seeing the launch on TV," McDade said.

She was visiting the exhibit with visiting with her family, including great-grandchildren.

"I think we were all in awe that the U.S. was actually going to the moon," McDade said.

Fifty years later, the Apollo 8 mission continues to inspire future generations of explorers.

"There's an opportunity to learn about space exploration - what it was like in those crammed quarters in the capsule. I think it's sort of full cycle, what the people here on earth were thinking - and you can go out and see the capsule itself," Rashford said.

For more information on the exhibit, visit www.msichicago.org.
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