• Tate Collins, 2, looks at the restored Liberty Bell 7 capsule with Diana Heim-Johnson during the Liberty Bell 7 50th anniversary event in 2011 at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Cosmosphere will lend Liberty Bell 7 for exhibit in Germany

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gus Grissom's Liberty Bell 7 space capsule, one of the iconic exhibits at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, is going on a six-month journey to Germany, where it will become a part of the "Outer Space: The Space Between Art and Science" at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn.

But before Liberty Bell 7 begins its latest journey, the Cosmosphere on May 10 will open a bon voyage exhibit titled "A New Flight Path for Liberty Bell 7," which promises a look at the personal side of Grissom's 15-minute suborbital space flight in 1961, including survival gear, medical equipment and personal items Grissom had on board for souvenirs for himself and his family.

After Liberty Bell 7 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, Grissom scrambled from the Mercury spacecraft, which then sank.

The artifacts that will make up the display were still on board when Liberty Bell 7 was recovered by the Cosmosphere's SpaceWorks team and the Discovery Channel in 1999.

SpaceWorks spent the next six months painstakingly restoring the spacecraft for a national tour.

Liberty Bell 7 has been at home at the Cosmosphere for the past eight years.

In August, it will be packed up for shipment to Germany. Liberty Bell 7 will debut in the Bonn exhibit Oct. 3 and remain on display there through Feb. 22, 2015, at which time it will be packed up again for return to Hutchinson.

"Liberty Bell 7 is, without question, one of the most iconic pieces of the Cosmosphere's collection," said Cosmosphere CEO Richard Hollowell. "This piece has a very special place in the hearts of our staff and our community. Part of the Cosmosphere's mission involves sharing the wonders of the universe with the world, and as we prepare to send Liberty Bell to Germany, we know that her journey will serve to honor the rich history of the space program and inspire the next generation.

"Explorers of all ages will have the opportunity to see her, appreciate the importance of her role in history and better understand the work we do at the Cosmosphere. We're honored and excited to be sharing such an important artifact with space enthusiasts overseas."