News Release

Space Center Houston’s Colossal Exhibit Earns Top International Awards

HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2016 – Independence Plaza won the attraction industry’s highest honor at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo Brass Ring Awards Ceremony. Marking achievements of excellence in the global attractions industry, Space Center Houston’s colossal exhibit complex earned the prestigious Impact Award and Best New Product for Displays and Sets on Nov. 16.

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“We are extremely honored and appreciative that our world-class exhibit received the most prestigious attractions industry award from our colleagues at IAAPA,” said President and CEO William T. Harris. “This exhibit is an unprecedented learning experience for generations to come.”

The Impact Award, one of the most distinguished of the international Brass Ring Awards program, is given to a category winner that had or will have the most impact on the future of the industry. The Best New Product for Displays and Sets Award recognizes excellence in the theming and design of an exhibit or attraction.

Since opening last January, Independence Plaza has garnered international news stories and drawn visitors from around the world. Developing an exhibit unlike anything else in the world was no small feat. Throughout the construction process, Jack Rouse Associates provided complete planning, design and project management for Independence Plaza.

The eight-story multiple-exhibit complex is the biggest project for the nonprofit since the center opened in 1992. Bringing the legacy of the 30-year shuttle program to life, Independence Plaza features hands-on activities, multimedia displays and NASA artifacts – all inside the original shuttle carrier aircraft, NASA 905, with a shuttle replica mounted on top. The exhibit immerses visitors in the science and history of the shuttle era and gives them a rare glimpse into the ingenuity, breakthroughs and technological advances which impacted the future of exploration. Only at Space Center Houston can visitors walk through the flight deck, mid-deck and payload bay of a shuttle replica and the seven dynamic areas within the aircraft.

Supporting Space Center Houston’s educational mission, the exhibits also emphasize problem-solving concepts and possible career paths in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It honors those who designed, built and flew in America’s Space Shuttle Program by recounting stories from astronauts, engineers and pilots. The plaza shows the key role NASA Johnson Space Center played in the shuttle’s development and looks to the future through the research currently being performed at NASA.

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit science and space learning center with extensive educational programs. Space Center Houston is the cornerstone of its mission to inspire all generations through the wonders of space exploration. The center draws 1 million visitors annually, was called “The Big Draw” by USA Today and generates a $73 million annual economic impact in the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center. More than 100,000 teachers and students from around the world visit the center annually to take part in extraordinary learning opportunities. For more information, go to www.spacecenter.org.

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