Photo of Norman Rockwell with astronauts Grissom and Young, 1964. Courtesy of NASA. All rights reserved.

Photo of Norman Rockwell with astronauts Virgil I (Gus) Grissom and John W. Young, Cape Kennedy, 1964. Courtesy of NASA. All rights reserved.

Stockbridge, MA, May 22, 2010— Norman Rockwell Museum will welcome home NASA astronaut/Berkshire native Stephanie Wilson, with a special public program to be held at the Museum on Friday, June 4, starting at 11 a.m. Ms. Wilson will be visiting the Museum to return a reproduction of a 1964 photo of Norman Rockwell and astronauts John W. Young and Virgil I (Gus) Grissom. The original photo was taken at Cape Kennedy, and was reproduced by Norman Rockwell Museum and Chicago Albumen Works digital archiving and printing services to accompany Wilson’s October 20, 2007 voyage aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Ms. Wilson will offer remarks about her experience working for NASA’s space program, as well as her local ties to the Berkshires.

“We are extremely honored to welcome astronaut Stephanie Wilson to Norman Rockwell Museum. She is an inspiration to young people the world over,” noted Museum Director and CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt. “Norman Rockwell chronicled the early Apollo space missions in a series of paintings he created back in the 1960s; he was pleased to chronicle such an exciting chapter in world history. Story Musgrave, one of NASA’s first astronauts, grew up in Linwood House, the current home of Norman Rockwell Museum. He recalls gazing into the sky while lying on the lawn, and dreaming of going into space.”

NASA Astronaut Stephanie Wilson is a 1984 graduate of Taconic High School inPittsfield, Massachusetts. She went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in engineering science from Harvard University in 1988, and a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1992. A veteran of three space flights (STS-121 in 2006, STS-120 in 2007, and STS-131 in 2010), Wilson has logged over 42 days in space.

In preparation for her second space shuttle mission (STS-120), Ms. Wilson contacted Norman Rockwell Museum in June of 2007 to inquire about borrowing a memento to commemorate the life and work of Norman Rockwell during her flight. The Museum enthusiastically agreed, and sent along a digital print photo from its Archives, which featured Rockwell alongside astronauts Young and Grissom at Cape Kennedy in 1964; the photo was chosen by the Museum to honor the contribution of the two pioneers of American space exploration, and their connection to Norman Rockwell. The photo was also chosen to honor the memory of Mr. Grissom, who was tragically killed during an Apollo launch exercise in 1967.

Norman Rockwell visited NASA in 1964 in order to prepare for a commissioned illustration that was to be published in the April 20, 1965, issue of Look, featuring Grissom and Young suiting up for the first manned Gemini mission (Gemini 3). The artist was extremely proud to have been chosen to document America’s foray in to space, and subsequently went on to create additional paintings in 1967 and 1969, to represent NASA’s Apollo mission.
The digital print produced for Wilson’s trip, was prepared by Doug Munson at Chicago Albumen Works, of Housatonic, Massachusetts; the company has had a long association with Norman Rockwell Museum, recently assisting with its ongoing ProjectNORMAN digitization program, and the exhibition Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera.