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Slayton museum draws extra visitors around moon landing anniversary

Brad Williams

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SPARTA, Wis. — The 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing may be bringing more visitors to an area museum this week. 

The Deke Slayton Space and Bicycle Museum in Sparta reports an increase in visitors over the last few days. 

The museum near the Monroe County courthouse features space-related exhibits, including an actual moon rock, and souvenirs from the career of Sparta area native Deke Slayton, who was chosen as one of the original Mercury astronauts. 

Saturday marks 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk during Apollo 11.   

Health problems kept Slayton, who died June 13, 1993 at the age of 69, out of space until the 1970s, after men had already landed on the moon. 

Slayton, however, did choose the crews for the Gemini and Apollo flights between 1965 and 1972, and walked the Apollo 11 crew to the bus, which took them to the launching pad.

Interim museum director Alyssa Young says the Slayton museum will offer 50 percent off admission Saturday, exactly 50 years after the first moon walk.