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Please join us on Wednesday September 16, 2020, 12:00pm Eastern time for our Virtual History Brown Bag talk:

Jennifer Levasseur, “Through Astronaut Eyes: Photography from Early Human Spaceflight”

Abstract: Through Astronaut Eyes presents the story of how human daring along with technological ingenuity allowed people to see the Earth and stars as they never had before. Photographs from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs tell powerful and compelling stories that continue to have cultural resonance to this day, not just for what they revealed about the spaceflight experience, but also as products of a larger visual rhetoric of exploration. The photographs tell us as much about space and the astronauts who took them as their reception to an American culture undergoing radical change throughout the turbulent 1960s. Dr. Levasseur’s book from Purdue University Press explores the origins and impact of astronaut handheld photography from 1962 to 1972, the period when human spaceflight most captured the American imagination.

Jennifer Levasseur serves as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum curator for the space shuttle, ISS, cameras, and chronographs. She received her BA in history from the University of Michigan in 1999, an MA in American Studies from The George Washington University in 2002, and a PhD in history at George Mason University in 2014. Her book, Through Astronaut Eyes: Photography from Early Human Spaceflight (Purdue University Press, June 2020), examines the cultural significance of astronaut photography. She curated the 2015 spacewalk anniversary exhibit Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity, currently serves as curator for the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition and continues development of the Museum’s new exhibition on the space shuttle, space station, and Artemis programs. Prior to her work at the National Air and Space Museum, she worked as a historic interpreter at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and started her Smithsonian career with an internship in the National Portrait Gallery’s Department of Photography. Jennifer also serves as the Program Committee chair for the biennial Mutual Concerns of Air and Space Museums conference and manager of the Museum’s requests through the NASA property disposal system.

 

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