- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2015

Online donations to the National Air and Space Museum’s crowdfunding campaign shot the moon in its first week, just like the spacesuit the museum is trying save.

In a first, the popular museum launched its “Reboot the Suit” project on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter on July 20, seeking to raise $500,000 to restore and display the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong when he stepped on the moon.

As of Saturday, the campaign had raised about $525,000 and now it has increased its goal to $700,000 in hopes of using the extra cash to protect fellow astronaut Alan Shepard’s spacesuit. Mr. Shepard made the first American manned space flight in 1961.

“In the time it took the Apollo 11 crew to land on the Moon and return safely back to Earth, we have accomplished our goal thanks to your phenomenal response and passionate belief in our mission,” the Smithsonian said to supporters in a statement on its Kickstarter page.

The campaign’s immediate success is a promising sign for the Smithsonian, which has teamed up with Kickstarter to fund projects it plans to unveil in the coming months.

As of Monday morning, the Air and Space Museum had raised over $550,000 for Armstrong’s spacesuit, from more than 6,900 backers. It still has just over three weeks before the campaign expires.

The Smithsonian took many people by surprise when it announced it would take its first crack at raising money for its world-class projects through an online crowdfunding platform. A majority of the institution’s funding comes from the federal government, but Smithsonian officials said those funds only cover a percentage of the operating costs of their museums.

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